An Ode to a First Apartment

An Ode to a First Apartment

I’m moving.  After five awesome years in my “first” apartment, I’m upgrading to a condo.   I use quotations around first because although I did move out for school, this was my first on-my-own place, which was a big deal.  It’s time to move on, no doubt, but saying goodbye can be hard. Which is why I could use a little reminiscing, so here’ goes.

As a first apartment, it had its ups and downs.  Ups: it was affordable (cheap, considering today’s market), walkable distance to work, in the heart of a cool neighbourhood and just the right size, even when my 6’4″ boyfriend moved in.  Those ups were enough to outweigh the downs, some of which being: loud thumping music from the restaurant below, the occasional* cockroach, no air conditioning (or functional windows, for the majority of them), and always a just a wee bit dirty.

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Why I’m Going Home to Eat Broccoli and Drink Wine


Sounds awesome, right? Sorta.

My fridge contains what I have to look forward to when I get home from work. It also contains what I have to succumb to eating upon return to my apartment.  Those two things are wine and broccoli and the events of my lunch hour are the cause of this.

Today, over my lunch hour and in the Zara change room, I realized one thing.  I don’t think even Gisèle Bundchen feels like she looks good in the Zara change room.  Or in any change room.   Honestly, the only retailer who has their act together when it comes to the change room is Victoria’s Secret.  And that says it all.

A change room is like a chokey for women.  Remember the chokey from the movie Matilda?  It’s a closet-sized punishment space with nails and stakes poking outwards in every direction, making it extremely likely for anyone inside to have a full fledged claustro-panic attack.  Well, in change rooms, there are mirrors instead of spikes and, instead of the crushing blackness, there are baseball stadium-strength light bulbs illuminating everything. This is the modern female change room, ladies.  I don’t know about you but when I’m at home I don’t try something on in my closet and then stand 6 inches from a mirror to determine if it looks good.


As Gretchen Wieners suggests, you don’t buy something without asking your friends if it looks good on you first.  So I proceeded to attempt to document about nine outfit changes and send them over whatsapp to my sister in Toronto and good friend in England.  This highly choreographed process backfired when no one responded.

Frustrated, illuminated and alone, I decided to buy a few items that, thankfully, Zara allows full refund on if they don’t meet my standards.

And, despite some vigorous healthy habits and gym visits over the past 3 weeks, I still feel like no progress has been made on the ‘132-only’ front.  So, tonight, I will go home to my delightful apartment and avoid snacking on useless and temporarily pleasing items and opt instead for a Zara-change-room-friendly dinner.  But I won’t forgo the wine.  It’s a post-Zara-change-room thing.

Image 1 courtesy of fanpop. Image 2 courtesy of Style and then some.

Advice for Hitting the Dirty Thirties


Photo: Lena C. Emery

There’s oodles of great writing on the interwebs about turning 30.  Lots of it is true and also humbling. Most of it is humorous.  But the bottom line is, people are thinking it’s a big deal – which it is – but it’s not a bad thing.  Sometimes we all need a confidence boost/reality check to reflect on what you’ve done and realize that this might just be your best decade yet.  I’ve noticed real, tangible changes to myself – some good, some bad.  With three decades of wisdom under my belt, I don’t care if I am well-equipped or not to draft some advice. Here it is.

There’s a lot I don’t know
Everyday I learn something new but, the bottom line is, there is a lot of stuff to learn.  Trying to think cleverly isn’t always the answer.  In work meetings, where I’m worried that I need to speak up or else people won’t feel I’m contributing, I can’t miss the fact that by simply listening I’m picking up what I need.

There’s a lot I know that I can start taking credit for
You are under-qualified for a lot, but also overqualified for lots, too. This means updating your CV to reflect that change.  You don’t really need your high school job on there anymore.  Nor do you need basic skills listed beneath a role.  Talk about accomplishments, because you got ’em.

Be good to yourself – specifically your lower back when you’re scrubbing the tub
Minor pains have been creeping up on me in places that used to (and 95% still do) function well. But, the idea that I can bend over for 10 consecutive minutes while trying to eliminate stubborn shower scum from the far reaches of my bathtub is becoming one of wishful thinking.  I was cleaning my bathroom yesterday and my lower back seized. My posture shot upwards.  I felt uncomfortable standing still.  I had to take a break.  I couldn’t fathom not getting the job done, the comet still foaming on the porcelain, the mirror still spackled like a windshield during a tooth-brushing storm.  It subsided, but it will be back and I’ll be ready.

Don’t see this as the decline before the end
I’m reading Gone Girl.  In it, the wife, who is nearly 40, is talking about still being ‘pretty for her age’.  The dreaded 40s are looming before her and she’s thinking she’s past her prime.  So, when is ‘Prime’?  If ‘prime’ is just before ‘past-the-prime’ then we oughta think that the 30s are bitter-sweet, right?  No. One doesn’t go from amazing to awful in a few years.  Enjoy the transition and do it gracefully.  Thinking that 36 is the end of beauty is a bad way to tackle this decade.

Then there are the obligatories like get sleep, exercise, eat well, save money, don’t give up everything for a man… blah blah. One thing I do want to reiterate is that now is not too late to do something you really want to do.  When I was 25 I backpacked in Australia and felt more senior than my other travel companions.  That made me depressed, feeling like my window of opportunity was narrowing faster than I could escape from it.  Not true.  Go backpacking, start your novel, take that night course on home design.  Don’t say you can’t.