Saturday, 30 November 2013

(Cape)rs in Beverly Hills: Day 4 x L.A.


Cape, Top & Necklace: Forever 21 // Hat: Topshop // Pants: Cotton On (Santa Monica) // Shoes: Material Girl // Bag: Nine West // Bracelets: Aldo

When it's raining and you're in a dour mood, one of the best remedies is to look back over old pictures of happier and sunnier times. In this instance, that would include reminiscing about my recent trip to L.A. (according to many of my friends and acquaintances, I even managed to get a tan!). Instead of thinking about how I have to work late tonight due to extended holiday hours ('tis the season to be a grinch), I decided to blog about this particular lovely morning when I got to do some last minute shopping in Beverly Hills before we had to leave for our 7:30 pm flight back to Bellingham. I got to wear my new cape from Forever 21 for the first time (my bf bought it as a present for enduring a long day and night of Dir En Grey-related activities); it was just as comfortable and effortlessly stylish as I had hoped!

We started off Beverly Connection, a mall that boasted of a Nordstrom Rack, Ross, Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, Old Navy, and other fun-to-scour shopping destinations. When I ventured into Marshalls, I was pleasantly surprised by how many amazing deals there were on designer brands such as Kate Spade, Michael Kors, and Diane von Furstenberg-- it must have been the rich environment of the Beverly Hills that influenced such wonderful selection! Next, we stepped into the Nordstrom Rack (which ended up being our last stop as I found everything that I wanted there). After excitedly searching through countless racks, I managed to pick out a lovely pair of blue-print-on-white Current/Elliot jeans that cost a mere $40 USD (down from $258 USD!) and a patent black Kate Spade tote bag. I was debating between getting the cheaper tote bag or a legit leather Kate Spade bag; however, my frugal side came out and I decided that the cheaper bag I got, the more items I could afford!  

After grabbing my purchases, we ate a quick lunch at Beverly Centre, a large shopping mall across from Beverly Connection, and headed on early to the airport. We ended up getting to the airport about five hours earlier than our flight departure time so we settled down with some Netflix (I'm so glad we brought my laptop)and ate a light seafood dinner of seared mahi-mahi. I wish now that I had bothered to check my purse to make sure everything was in there because it was somewhere around this time that I lost my wallet! Despite this unfortunate setback, I had a wonderful trip and am so glad that I got some sunshine during these dreary winter months of ours. Have any of you got any plans for the holidays?

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Sunset Boulevard & Hollywood: Day 3 x L.A.


 Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell // Necklace & Top: H&M // Skirt: Express // Bag: Michael Kors // Sunglasses: Aldo // Tights: Urban Planet 

Since returning from my trip, I've been one busy bee finishing my final class projects and essays. I also had the added pleasure of replacing my IDs, credit cards, and debit card after experiencing the misfortune of losing it somewhere in LAX airport. I can't get over how I managed to keep everything safe during a crazy rock concert and then while lazing around an airport I somehow lost something as important as a wallet! Luckily, I still had my passport and everything that was lost was replaceable.

On this particular day, P and I left our hotel in the late morning to attend a meet-and-greet with Dir En Grey, whose concert we would be attending later that night. I was happy to discover that my new Jeffrey Campbell booties from Urban Outfitters ($75 down from $150) were more than comfortable enough to let me walk around the entire day in comfort. We were about the twentieth people to arrive in the lineup at 11:30 am and the signing started at 1 pm; as a result, we had to wait at the side of the building for a good two hours. I made my BF buy me an InStyle magazine to pass the time but the most annoying part was being bombarded by hot rays of sunshine (now that I'm back home in chilly Vancouver, I miss that sun a lot!). After we had gotten a CD signed, we decided to eat at some random chain food restaurant called Ono Hawaiian BBQ that had decent-ish food; I was so hungry at that point that I was anything but picky about the eating options. Following lunch, we had a lot of time to kill before the concert, so we headed on over to Hollywood Boulevard. However, since it was Sunday afternoon, parking was crazy and it was extremely crowded. I decided that driving past the boulevard was good enough for me and that I'd rather enjoy a more calm experience at beautiful outdoor mall called The Grove.

When we had arrived at the mall, the parking there was so packed that we only managed to snag a space on the rooftop parking level. Luckily, the weather was still beautiful and we had a fine view of the famous "HOLLYWOOD" sign situated on a nearby hill/mountain. At The Grove, I bought a comfortable cape and necklace from Forever 12, did a lot of window-shopping, and ate a delicious New Orleans-style dinner of gumbo and fried seafood. All in all, it was a wonderful day!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

"Why Do You Blog?": An Examination of the Blogging World and Its Consequences Upon the "Real" World

As a personal style and lifestyle blogger, I am often asked that most infuriatingly difficult-to-answer question: “Why do you blog?” In order to examine my motivations for maintaining this online publication over the past year,  I would have to delve into the fascinating world of blogging for an answer. Blogging allows individuals to build an online presence that might eventually have a noticeable effect on their offline personalities and characteristics. Thus, the boundaries between the cyber and “real” world can become blurred and interact with one another in intricate ways. This paper will seek to explore some of these complex relationships by assessing various concepts surrounding one's audience and the personal goals and motivations that have inspired the creation of my own blog.       
      
Audience
In order to become a 'serious' blogger, one must both create captivating content and carefully consider the nuanced needs of one's target audience. The main inspirations for my blog, which include Her Waise ChoiceAlicia FashionistaBrooklyn Blonde, and IFB, have motivated me to not only create a certain minimalist aesthetic for my blog but also taught this fledgling publisher how to execute proper blogger etiquette. For instance, IFB's article "How to Build A Loyal Following" suggests that fledgling bloggers create relationships with other bloggers and readers through comments, "engage actively on social media," and "be consistent" in terms of content and posting schedules (Davies). I feel that these pieces of advice, along with many other subtle guidelines, helped me to gain and maintain an audience following that would have an impact on both my zeal for blogging and my own daily habits.  
        
Over the course of my own blogging endeavours and throughout the duration of PUB 101, I have become increasingly aware of the need to know my audience in order to experience any amount of success. Google Analytics is an extremely useful tool used by countless sites and corporate entities in order to track audience numbers, behaviours, and monetization goals. According to our guest speaker Monique Sherrett, the successful use of this particular tracking tool can be summarized through the ABC's of "Acquisition," "Behaviour," and "Conversions." "Acquisition" refers to your readership's origins in terms of geography, device access, or even how they found your site. On the other hand, "Behaviour" pertains to what your readers actually choose to do while on your site. Lastly, "Conversions" may indicate the achievement of either monetary transactions or "goals." Whether the main intent is to make financial gains or to have a message be heard, knowing the approximate age, gender, and interests of your followers can allow bloggers to craft material suitable for their audience.

Social media platforms are often used by bloggers to both promote their publications and to connect with brands and other bloggers. However, Alexis Madrigal's article “Dark Social: We Have the Whole History of the Web Wrong”  states that at least 69% of content sharing is accomplished through the "dark social," which are unknown sources of referral that are invisible to most analytic programs (ex. email), rather than public sites such as Twitter. In light of the fact that most sharing is done through the "dark social," Madrigal concluded that social media sharing can only do so much and that content must be appealing enough for it to be shared through such 'invisible' networks.

Does the public sharing of my blog posts on social media then truly gain me a larger audience? As a result of using Google Analytics, I have been able to deduce that I have gained a larger readership through methods such as Twitter, Google Plus, and Facebook. However, some forms of social media are not so easily able to transfer a readership from one platform to another; for instance, taking wonderful pictures on Instagram is very different from creating tantalizing content on a blog. Consequently, it is important to note that different social media mediums can be completely different breeds of creatures.

What then are some tried-and-true methods of using social media to gain and keep an audience? Trevor Battye warned that monetization can only be successful if we respect the boundaries of our audience and maintain an authentic voice; for instance, it is not wise to transform a simple blog focused on frugality by suddenly filling it with shopping ads. Instead, Trevor maintained that the best opportunities blur the line between information and advertising; in other words, audiences enjoy receiving something of value in return for their loyalty. Therefore, as a result of learning about audiences in Publishing 101, I have found that knowing more about your readership is always better while sometimes doing less is required in order to preserve the authentic voice of your blog.


Motivations and Goals
My motivations for creating and maintaining What Doffy Does are deeply influenced by a constantly-changing society that increasingly focuses on individual action and personal initiative. Seth Godin, a blogger and entrepreneur, claims that our society is transitioning from one leadership model centred around mass marketing to another based on "tribes" of individuals, who bond together through mutual interests and passions (Feb 2009,  "The Tribes We Lead"). Godin also mentions that tribes, in a snowball effect, build upon other tribes until the initial pioneers have created something much larger than themselves: a movement. As a result, "tribes" have become an acknowledged way with which people today can attempt to take important matters into their hands.

While hearing about "tribes" is inspirational, there are also more concrete factors that have led to the phenomenon of online publishing. Clay Shirky's online article "Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable" presents several compelling reasons for the fast-growing pace and popularity of online publications. Shirky observes that the print industry is in a dire state since the printing press has become too expensive in comparison to faster, cheaper and more accessible technologies. Rather than harping on the need to revive print industries, Shirky maintains that "society doesn't need newspapers" but rather needs to "'do whatever works'" in order to save journalism. In relation to my own blog, this article illuminates the fact that we do not need to mourn the decline of print fashion magazines when a new mode of fashion reportage has come to the forefront.

Godin's speech and Shirky's article allowed me to uncover some of my own reasons for blogging: my wish to be a part of movement larger than myself. Following the creation of my own blog, I began to feel like I was part of a larger, global community. In addition, I completely understand Seth Godin's statement about tribes building upon one another to make unprecedented changes within our contemporary lifestyles. After establishing my own blog, I have been able to create in-person and online relationships with fellow bloggers, both local and transcontinental. As well, I believe that obtaining a decent readership may provide opportunities in the future to pursue my passion for issues related to social justice and equality. In fact, I recently met with a local blogger who is utilizing her online influence to promote Dress for Success, a charity group focused on helping impoverished women; her zeal and ability to find ways to use her blogger status to make a difference in our society is a great inspiration for me!     

As a consequence of undertaking Publishing 101, I have been provided with invaluable information with which I can both improve What Doffy Does and think about a potential career within publishing. All of today's online publications require in-depth knowledge about gauging audiences' interests using certain tools and the ability to act upon such information in order to improve viewership. As well, success within the publishing field today requires open-mindedness and the motivation to constantly improve upon old methods. In terms of future plans for my blog, I am curious about how far my blogging can take me in terms of developing skills and knowledge that might be useful within a full time career in publishing, such as marketing, photography, and writing. If I compare the present day What Doffy Does to my very first blogging endeavours, I find myself quite impressed with the degree to which I have improved the quality of my work. Who knows where my little hobby will take me?



Works Cited
Battye, Trevor. "Audiences and Markets." Clevers Media. Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, B.C. 5 Nov. 2013. Lecture.  

Davies, Taylor. "How to Build a Loyal Following Online." Independent Fashion Bloggers. N.p., 3 Dec. 2013. Web. Available at http://heartifb.com/2012/12/03/how-to-build-a-loyal-following-online/. 12 Nov. 2013.

Godin, Seth. "The Tribes We Lead." TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, Feb. 2009. Available at http://www.ted.com/talks/seth_godin_on_the_tribes_we_lead.html. 13 Nov. 2013.   

Madrigal, Alexis. "Dark Social: We have the whole history of the web wrong." The Atlantic. Oct. 2012. Available at http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/10/dark-social-we-have-the-whole-history-of-the-web-wrong/263523/. 12 Nov. 2013. 

Sherrett, Monique. "Exploring Analytics." Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, B.C. 29 Oct. 2013. Lecture.  

Shirky, Clay. "Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable." Clay Shirky. N.p., 12 March 2009. Available at http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable. 15 Nov. 2013.





Monday, 25 November 2013

Dir En Grey Concert: Day 3 x L.A.

Faux Leather Top: Urban Outfitters // Cardigan: Ross // Skorts & Shoes: Zara // Tights: Urban Planet // Necklace & Cutout Cuff: Forever 21 // Bracelets: Ardene, Ily Couture 
 Sunglasses: Ray Ban // Vest: Zara // Top: Topman // Pants: A/X // Boots: Cole Haan // Belt: King Baby

Greetings all,
The BF and I just got back from the Dir En Grey rock concert that was the main reason for this entire trip to L.A. My BF has loved this famous Japanese rock band since highschool (which was quite a while ago) so he had to go when he found out that the band would be performing in L.A. for the last leg of their tour. Although I had no idea who they were before dating him, P convinced me to join him by tempting me with good shopping, food, and sightseeing. We both obviously had to dress up for the occasion so I bought a faux leather top on sale at Urban Outfitters and the BF bought a faux leather vest  from Zara. When we arrived at the concert venue, House of Blues, I wasn't sure whether I'd actually enjoy the experience since I'd only listened to a few of the songs previously. To make matters worse, my feet were killing me since I had unwisely chosen to wear four inch heels and it was standing room only (we were in the mosh pit all night). Crazy sweaty people were everywhere and I was scared that I would get injured from overly-eager moshers. Also, the opening act was some French hardcore rock band that had me wishing that I could go for a nap in the car.
However, I was more than glad that I persevered until the main act came on the perform: Dir En Grey was amazing! The main vocalist was amazingly talented and charismatic; his use of flamboyant costumes, visuals, and freaky facial expressions/makeup was extremely entertaining and I found myself having a great time! I also was impressed by how many fans of different ethnicities adored this very Japanese band. While the first act seemed to take an eternity, Dir En Grey's performances seemed to speed by. I wouldn't have minded joining my BF and many others in the sweaty moshing; sadly, I was wearing the wrong footwear to join in on the fun. For my first rock concert, I was thoroughly impressed and found myself humming my favourite song on the drive back to the hotel ("Rinkaku").  

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Sightseeing in Stripes: Day 2 x L.A.

Dress: French Connection // Shoes: Shoemint // Bag: Michael Kors // Cardigan: Urban Behaviour // Bracelets: Ily Couture & Ardene // Necklace: Smart Set

Happy Saturday everyone!
Our second day in L.A. was everything we could have possibly wished for and perhaps a bit more. First off, I woke up at 6 am and couldn't fall back asleep so I had a grand total of 4.5 hours of sleep (luckily I was able to nap for two hours later on the day). We started off our day in Santa Monica for a walk down the pier and then shopped intensely for the subsequent three hours. The view was incredible, the palm trees were everywhere, people were jogging everywhere, and the shopping deals were overwhelming! P and I observed that the lifestyle was very much West Coast (and therefore we Vancouverites were somewhat related): fitness-oriented and focused on chilling (except for the crazy aggressive drivers that honk at every opportunity). 
After we had finished shopping, we headed on over to the famous Rodeo Drive for some window-shopping and a quick lunch. It was really something to walk through that really baller area and see all of the expensive cars and well-dressed rich folks. For me, the interesting thing was witnessing L.A. style in first person-- these fashionistas really love their sunglasses and dark shades of clothing. Black and other monochromatic ensembles were everywhere and I felt a little under-dressed and over-colourful with my striped dress and neon pink MK bag. After finishing walking down that strip, we devoured some chicken burritos at Chipotle and headed back to the hotel to relax for a few hours. Finally, we ended off the night by having dinner on Hollywood Boulevard at a upscale Japanese restaurant called Katsuya and lounged around the W Hollywood Hotel.
All in all, it was a wonderful day and I can't wait to show you guys all of the amazing things I bought today! Also, future travel posts will show all of the cool places that I visited today in greater detail. 
Until then, goodnight!

Garbed in Grey: Day 1 x L.A.


Hat: Topshop // Top: 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target // Cardigan: Urban Behaviour // Pleather shorts: Dynamite // Tights: Forever 21 // Shoes: Material Girl // Bag: Nine West // Necklace: Joe Fresh

Greetings from L.A. everyone! 

After a long day of class in the early morning, driving down to Bellingham, and then a short flight over to the City of Angels, we made it to LAX. Unfortunately, as soon as I tried to log onto the airport wifi, my phone decided to go nuts and not let me use the wifi option anymore! As someone who is addicted to social media and her smartphone (like just about everyone else in my society), it has been an agonizing experience to take pictures of L.A. sights and not be able to post Instagram pictures immediately... Anywho, after getting out of the airport, we took a shuttle bus to our rental car agency; however, due to a serious car accident at a nearby terminal, our bus took an extra 20 minutes longer than usual to reach its destination. When you travel, you just have to roll with the punches and realize that things will never always go exactly as planned. 

After we made it to our hotel, we drove for about thirty minutes away to a mall called The Grove. A beautiful outdoor mall that was full of amazing stores such J. Crew and Topshop, we were sad that we arrived just when the stores were closing at 10 pm. Also, we had planned to eat at The Cheesecake Factory but the wait ended up being more than an hour, which was too long for our starving stomachs. Instead, we ate at The Fat Cow, a Gordon Ramsay restaurant, where we had delicious pasta, truffle fries, a humongous burger, and an amazing "Intelligentsia Coffee" that apparently is only available at The Fat Cow. 

Since we are planning a big day tomorrow, which will include driving down to Santa Monica and Rodeo Drive to shop and eat, I better go soon to get some rest as the bf and I are both exhausted. 

Good night all!

P.S. Yes, I do realize that I've been wearing these burgundy tights way too often lately. I will be changing things up very soon!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Two Tones (& Attack of the Bed Hair)


Jersey dress: H&M (old) // Blazer: Suzy Shier // Tights: Forever 21 // Shoes: Material Girl // Necklace: Topshop // Bag: 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target // Bracelets: vintage

Hello everyone, 
This will be my last post before leaving to the hopefully sunny and warm climes of L.A.! For the past few days, I've been scrambling to finish my last two assignments, a project and an essay, before I go on my vacation. As a result, I've had to hole myself in my room for ridiculous amounts of hours on end and basically have forgotten what it looks like outside (Sunlight? What's that?). 
I've been so tired lately with work and school that I've started to take the easy way out of things-- including my hair. On this particular day, I literally rolled out of bed and did nothing to re-style my hair, resulting in this bird's nest of a mess. Oh well, I'm sure you students out there know exactly how I feel! I also wore two items in my closet that I discovered while rooting around for L.A. summery clothing: this mod-esque monochromatic jersey dress and this tuxedo-style blazer. I think I should get a mini pat on the back for making use of "old" clothing!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Feelin' Neutral

 Cardigan: Urban Behaviour // Turtleneck: H&M // Skorts: Zara // Shoes: Bluenotes // Tights: Forever 21 // Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs // Necklace: Smart Set // Bracelet: Ily Couture

Hello everyone,
I hope that your Monday hasn't been too hectic! This past weekend was a veritable whirlwind of work, social activities, and stress-out sessions over my final project for Publishing (creating a mini book out of the first two chapters of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"). However, I did manage to squeeze some relaxation and fun out of those two days when I met up with some awesome friends, both new and old. In other news, this upcoming week is going to speed by as I not only will be working like a madwoman on my project and attempting to get in some much-needed girl time, I will be busily packing for my LA trip on Friday! On that day, I will have to wake up at around 6 am to attend an earlier class downtown at 8:30 am. After that, I will have to leave right away to drive down to Bellingham to catch our flight to LAX. Even though that sounds absolutely exhausting, I just can't wait to start shopping and checking out the sights in LA!
In terms of today's outfit post, I wore this long cardigan that is fast becoming a favourite for layering and warmth in my fall wardrobe. Also, I bought another pair of tights so that I could continue wearing shorts and skirts even in the dead of winter. Special thanks to the lovely Luvania of Fashion to the Nine for taking these photos during our lunch date at SFU last week!



Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Unbreakable Glass Ceiling

Hello everyone,
If you weren't already aware, I have a deep and passionate love for all things related to feminism and social justice. As a university student, I fell in love with the GSWS faculty (Gender, Sexuality, and Women Studies) due to its focus on the ongoing fight for true equality in terms of gender, sexuality, race, etc. I also loved how these courses provided me with the tools to critically analyze our society's many shortcomings in terms of pop culture and media. So when my good friend Luvania approached me about posting a class essay on my blog concerning women in the work industry and that insufferable "glass ceiling," I was more than happy to oblige. I hope that you enjoy reading this piece as much as I did and learn some valuable tidbits from it as well!

To the Blog Host of What Doffy Does, 
 As a 5th year Communications major currently seeking employment in the marketing sector, I have an informed opinion on the current state of women's employment. More specifically, I am concerned with the employment rates for recent female graduates who are either seeking employment or starting their entrepreneurial venture in Canada. I believe that my piece fully covers this topic and provides viable solutions for this current issue.  
 Thank you for your time and consideration.
 Best regards, Luvania Pathmanathan 

The Unbreakable Glass Ceiling 

      Getting fired is never easy. In August of 2009, I returned home and was surprised to find my strong and confident mother crying. Why was she in tears? My mother was fired. After tirelessly dedicating 7 years to this company, her boss had lured her into a performance review, only to let her go. Fast-forward four years and she is still unemployed. Even after applying to countless jobs in the lower mainland, she has not been offered a position worthy of her expertise and skillset. I felt the pain my mother went through in the beginning but it is even deeper now, as I am a young woman who is also tirelessly working to achieve something great through her career. This leaves me incessantly asking myself, “What if I can’t find a good job after graduation?”

      There are more young women than men in Canadian universities, yet fewer high paying jobs for this demographic. What is the correlation? There is none. The glass ceiling is ever-present right under our noses, yet we as young women even turn a blind eye. I cannot deny that our Canadian government has taken measures in overcoming this barrier. They have more than doubled the employment rate of women from 1976 (41.9 percent) to 2009 (85.3 percent). However, I am worried about the increasingly slow growth rate of women’s employment over the last decade.

      Although unemployment rates have also decreased for men, the impact is not nearly as significant. Data shows that executive level positions are still majority held by men (i.e., the 1 percent). Therefore proving that men are still more easily able to climb up the corporate ladder.

      Statistics Canada clearly identifies that even just from 2008 to 2009, women’s employment rates sank by one full percentage. Additionally, 7 out of 10 women are only temporary employees. This scares me… a lot. It also leaves me wondering whether there will be a seat in management, sales, or the boardroom for us up-and-coming, motivated, and intelligent young women.

      If young women like myself are thinking, “to heck with finding a job, I’ll just start my own business,” we need to think again. The entrepreneurial sector is looking just as bleak. Roughly only 15 percent of Canadian small to medium sized businesses are majority owned by women.

     There are women’s empowerment groups on both the professional and university level. These groups strive to provide women with tools, resources, and opportunities for career prosperity. Having been heavily involved in these groups, I have realized that they are insufficient and do not provide real solutions. They are more like putting a cast on a broken arm and wishing for a fast recovery. Putting it bluntly, it is all mushy, feel-good talk, with no action.

      I have no choice but to point my finger at our Canadian government and businesses. It is the responsibility of our local and national businesses to ensure they are providing equal opportunities to their employees. Just as the Catalyst argues, diversity is key. Eventually, age and gender diverse companies will see increased productivity and profits.

      Clearly, education is not the only answer. I want our government to assist in transitioning recent graduates into their careers, as students cannot rely on temporary jobs. Likewise, they need to consider laws and policies that will enforce an employment quota. This will directly help young women with post-secondary education and women in senior management. For young women with entrepreneurial visions, it is obvious that financing is a strong hurdle. This is why I want the Government of Canada to place funding, specifically for women under 30, who have a legitimate entrepreneurial plan.

      I am tired and honestly sick of hearing stories similar to my mother’s. Women in this situation have been forced to low-paying jobs while men with lesser experience and education are earning twice as much. We as a society need to step in. We must ask questions to our political leaders. This will not only benefit you, but you will be helping younger generations. We must create good jobs and good wages for our graduates.

     If you have been passed over like my mother has, you should not have a black trail following you. When you realize workplace injustice has occurred, take a second look to see what you could have done to alleviate the situation.
     I have learned first-hand that hard work, education, and experience is not nearly enough to secure stable, high-paying employment. So what does it take? I guess a little luck.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Weekly Instagram Diary: Mid-November Treats // PUB 101 Peer Review

Last Friday, I managed to check out the Hastings Warehouse, a pub that boasts a menu of food items costing no more than $4.95. As my friend and I were curious about how good the fare would be, we decided to have lunch there after our class in downtown Vancouver had ended. I ordered this delicious Mazatlan Garlic Prawns dish, which featured mildly spiced prawns and garlic bread with avocado-- yum! I definitely recommend all students who are on a budget to try it out.  
One of the most exciting developments for the blog recently has been the arrival of this amazing 50mm f1.8 lens for my Canon EOS 20D. After drooling over it for the last few months, I finally took the plunge when I saw it on sale at Future Shop for $109! My only regret is that I didn't buy this lens sooner-- the difference has been so evident and has made picture-taking for my blog posts a much pleasanter experience! 
According to Starbucks (and every mall), it's already the holiday season and therefore means that it's time to break out the red cups and snowman cookies! When I look back on how many Starbucks pictures I've been taking lately, I'm quite ashamed of how much I've bought into these corporate shenanigans (darn them for being so cute!). 
Best or worst tutor ever? I constantly spoil the two twin girls that I tutor weekly for English and Math with goodies and impromptu Monopoly game sessions. But I swear that I actually do teach them a lot of good stuff! I am one of those random people who ingested too many documentaries and non-fiction books on nature/animals/insects/anything fascinating when I was younger; as a result, I have amassed a plethora of random information on things that would interest a couple of 9-year-olds ("did you know that the world's biggest spider is the Goliath tarantula and it eats birds?"). 
On a recent shopping trip with Luvania, I bought too many items for me to carry around with me as I was heading downtown for class afterwards. Luckily, Luv was kind enough to carry this calendar of vintage New York architecture and life ($1 at Target) and these python print booties that I bought for $10 at Bluenotes. As well, she was awesome enough to buy my Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector (is that name long enough already?) and Sephora liquid liner using her V.I.B. discount. And only for a porter fee of $0.50! ;)
Last Saturday, we attended the birthday party of one of the bf's oldest friends at the Olympic Village's newest spot for beer: Craft Beer Market. According to our friends holding the buzzer (which would tell us when it was our turn), we were in line for a table for about five hours! While the hype most certainly was a bit over the top just because it was such a new establishment, I did greatly enjoy my Pyramids Audacious Apricot Ale. Also, the place has over a hundred and forty beers on tap! 
On Wednesday night, the bf took me for a spa date at My Spa in Yaletown, where we enjoyed hour-long facial and body exfoliation packages. It was certainly bliss after a long and terrible day full of technical difficulties and project deadlines. 
Yet another Starbucks picture: the Peppermint Mocha holiday drink.
After a workout at the downtown location of Club 16, I was struck by the beauty and quietness of the waterfront area. Isn't this city gorgeous??

Thanks for reading this week's Instagram Diary! After the jump, I will be reviewing one of my fellow PUB 101 classmate's essay-- feel free to take a look if you wish!