I am home from Canada now but I still would like to share my trip. School will be starting up again quite soon and so I must mentally prepare for the next four months. Honestly, I would not mind going back to Toronto. I am still not in a school mindset yet; I simply do not miss Richmond or fashion school. It has been nice doing my own thing! But alas, I will be packing once again soon. In the meantime, here is the rest of my time in Canada.
I wanted to start off with my hotel because it was lovely, first of all, also, the hallways gave me so much inspiration for photoshoots! We stayed at the Grand Hotel. I highly recommend if you are visiting Toronto; my family and I had a wonderful experience from the beautiful, outdoor breakfast area to the rooftop hot tubs. Oh, and did I mention the hallways?
Next, because of course I have to go to at least one museum, is the AGO(Art Gallery of Ontario). This museum was unique in it’s architecture as it had an entire wing devoted to resembling a viking boat!
I did not get too many pictures, but we visited Casa Loma. Casa Loma, above all else, had the most beautiful interior decor. It must be that wealthy flair I suppose!
My family and I went to the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto simply because we has city passes that included them. As tourists from Baltimore, home of the exceptionally overpriced National Aquarium, we decided to take advantage of this deal. It was actually so fun because there was this one petting station where you put your hand into the tank and little shrimp come up to your hand and clean it. They were the same kind of shrimp as Jacques from Finding Nemo. I guess the storytellers at disney did their research because those shrimp really do have that same need to clean. So they were just tickling our hands trying to get all of the dirt out from under our fingernails!
We were on the hunt to find Kensington Market. It is everything one could ever hope for in a bohemian wonderland! And then, it is right next to Chinatown, where we got some amazing dumplings for dinner.
I thought I would also include some pics of the food we enjoyed. I was determined to find Uncle Tetsu’s shop that serves the most amazing Japanese cheesecake. It was so light and fluffy and how cheesecake should always be. Honestly now cheesecake is ruined for me because I reached the pinnacle of cheesecake and I can never go back!
To continue showing off my trip to Canada, we finally made it to Toronto! Being the ultra tourists we are, we had to do everything that Toronto could offer. This includes, Casa Loma, Kensington Market, St. Lawrence Market, Eaton Center, the Toronto islands, the AGO, the ROM, and of course, the Canadian National(CN) Tower! We did a lot while in Toronto, and I have too many pictures for one post! So here is something for you to be CN now!
Oh Canada, what a sweet escape you are from…everything beneath you. It is nice to be away from everything American for a while. I think the Canadian customs officers feel sorry for us when they learn we are only visiting Canada and planning to return to the U.S.
We went to Niagara first, my mother just had to fulfill some ultra-touristy dream of seeing one of the seven wonders of the world. It was quite beautiful, and now I can say that I have seen it. On to other wonders now I suppose!
I do have some advice for those planning on visiting the falls. Although this contradicts one I had previously stated in the first paragraph, the all around community surrounded the falls is nicer on the American side. Many people do not realize how built up the Canadian side has become. They have exploited the falls to an American level. It is basically like a mini Las Vegas or large Gatlinburg. The strips are jam-packed with giant hotels, sleazy entertainment(the poor man’s Madame Tussaud, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, things of that nature), and crowded family chain restaurants that cost more than they should due to the location. If you love that type of thing then by all means, the Canadian side is what you want. Personally, I find it to be a tourist trap and the falls should be the main attraction. The Canadian side does have the better views as most of the waterfalls come out of the American side. You must go on the Maid of the Mist over the Hornblower. Maid of the Mist is the American boat tour and it is the more iconic of the two. I mean, Hornblower is fine and all but they were not the ones to save that kid that got swept over the falls. Also, Hornblower gives you these red colored rain ponchos while MotM gives you blue ones. Personal preference but I would rather match the water in blue. In case you have not noticed, my reviews are based purely on aesthetics! We, of course, were that family that drove across from America into Canada to go to our hotel, and then realized we had already paid to do the Maid of the Mist. So we drove back to America, passports and all, so we could do everything we needed to do there before driving back into Canada.
I am free!!! My finals just ended last night with the closure of the VCU fashion show at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. I have taken this entire day to relax and unwind as a personal reward—I mean, I did also purchase some sunglasses. Overall, I am happy with how this semester turned out. I was recognized by VCU’s fashion’s department head as the outstanding fashion design student for the sophomore class. I do not think this honor came with any money, but sometimes all that is really desired is the recognition. This honor was such a wonderful surprise for me that helped me finish my school year strong. I will be posting my finals soon hopefully. But, once again, I am backed up with things that need to be posted first! This is always a good thing though, I would rather have more content to post than not enough.
Circling back to the fashion show; I was there as a dresser backstage. The entire sophomore class was required to participate as head dressers for the show. We were responsible for helping the models dress so that nothing ripped or was put on incorrectly. Some may think this is a simple task, but looking at it as a designer myself, it is an incredibly daunting thought. You could destroy the garment that a senior had been working on all year, or not send it out as intended, therefore ruining the effect that the senior had worked hard to create. When I become a senior, I hope that whoever is dressing the model with my clothes will take great care, basically guarding the garment with their lives. There was one garment that ripped for another dresser unfortunately. They had to sew the model into the skirt in order to send it down the runway. But I suppose this is not uncommon within fashion shows.
I am so happy to be relieved of that show, as well as my finals so I can sleep and relax once again for a good two and half months. I wanted to post some pictures of my outfits from finals and some from the fashion show as well!
This weekend, I did something very few in the U.S. can say they did. I attended a BTS concert with my roommate, Clara! If you are unfamiliar with BTS or kpop in general, all you need to know is that they are a bunch of beautiful boys(I say beautiful because there is really no other way to describe them, they just are) who sing, dance, and rap like you have ever seen(and do it all flawlessly), and, the main reason why I, specifically, am able to take something away from them, their fashion is perfect. The band is composed of seven members, Jungkook, V, Jimin, J-Hope, Suga, Rap Mon(the leader), and Jin. They recently released an album(and then a follow up album immediately after) that prompted their Wings tour. And for this tour, they were finally able to make it to the United States. Circling back, I said that I did something not many Americans can say they did because BTS(and kpop bands in general) rarely comes to the U.S.
I was so excited to see them and experience what I and many others believe to be a rising genre of music. Kpop is influencing many cultural aspects around the world, the biggest of which, being fashion. And even if you cannot understand the lyrics or simply do not like kpop, it is hard to deny the growing popularity.
I was able to document a little bit but I was mostly focusing on the experience. I will also include some links to the songs and videos that I love the most, but I would recommend looking into all of their work. It becomes addictive after a certain point! But it is well worth it for the inspiration of music, dance, film, concept, and of course, fashion!
Still at the beach, and I honestly do not want to leave!
I went out with my father this morning to run a few errands. You know your father is obsessed with Kitty Hawk when he just has to go to the visitor center and stock up on every leisure brochure and map ever made! But I do not mind indulging my dad in all of his Carolina guilty pleasures, as all of them end in enjoyment and delight.
At the visitor center, there is a separate little trail that leads to the Monument to Flight, which is basically this sculpture dedicated to the evolution of flight. As North Carolina is home to one of the greatest contributions of technological innovations in human history, or flight, they are quite proud of their history. And as their license plates will tell you, North Carolinians are obsessed with the concept of flight. I was joking with my father earlier that the monument was the North Carolinian Stone Henge, or something out of Brave, the Pixar movie. From where the stones’ placement begins corresponding to the start of flight in 1903 with the Wright Brothers, the stones then grow in height with more time and progress and seem to ascend closer to the sky! I really appreciate that motif:)
I am the first one to admit I am not the strongest sewer, or pattern-maker, or anything technical involving even the slightest inkling of math. I draw. I can draw coroquis(fashion illustration) all day, every day. But we had to make a basic straight skirt first from draping, then transferring that drape onto pattern paper, only to then once again transfer it to fabric again. Now we are just starting off with the pattern paper which frankly, is my favorite method.
My hope through these types of posts is more for me to look back on it, read it, and become flushed with embarrassment over how hard I used to think something was, and feel proud over how I can do things that used to take me all night in a few hours, or less if I am lucky. Speaking of which, I am writing this post going into my 48 hour marathon in which I have not slept because I was working of this skirt literally all through the night. But at least I had something to turn in:)