My Leonard Cohen Article…RIP Open Hearted Poet.

I was lucky enough to interview Leonard Cohen 15 years ago in person at the Hotel Vogue in Montreal. 

For well over an hour we talked freely while smoking Vantage cigarettes (his) and drinking wine in his hotel room.

This was a man that made smoking look elegant and almost spiritual.

These kind of exclusive opportunities simply do not take place in 2016. The time, the access, and the personal generosity simply does not happen in music interviews any longer. Might I remind you this took place—as have all of my most cherished interviews before smart phones or “selfies” were ever part of our communal lexicon. 

While we were winding down the interview Leonard Cohen, THE LEONARD COHEN, suggested I get in touch with his “single” son Adam Cohen who spent his time between Montreal and Los Angeles. He gave me Adam’s number and told me he would give Adam a “head’s up” that I was calling. I looked at Leonard and said “Leonard Cohen thinks I’m good enough for his son? Can I call you dad?” He looked at me and chuckled.

I got Adam’s LA answering machine when I called the next day and I left a baffled/shy message that went something along these lines…”Um, hi Adam? My name Renee Gold and I just interviewed your dad, and he gave me your number…” I felt like an idiot leaving it! I soon found out through common friends that Adam (unbeknownst to Leonard) was in a new relationship in LA, with I believe the mother of his son Cassius. I never got a call back from him, but I LOVE the memory and the gesture of Leonard Cohen trying to fix me up with his son. 

Here is my short article that was published in Elle Canada Magazine.



RIP Leonard Cohen. Thank you for your prolific poetry, words, and music.


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Lady Gaga Joanne Review; a couple of hits, many misses.


First off can I just say that I think Lady Gaga is one of the most singular sounding, indefatigable musical artists out there? She’s an incredibly powerful singer and a highly skilled musician (piano, guitar, drums and keytar).  

I need to say this as I’m about to give her latest studio album Joanne [Interscope] a lukewarm-ish review—and in doing so it hurts me more than it will ever hurt her.

Some critics think that Ga-Ga’s experimental take on genre hopping on Joanne is a tad gimmicky, but I disagree. Everyone from Bob Dylan to David Bowie (who Gaga tributed so beautifully at last years Grammy’s) both have a long history of throwing complacency to the wind and experimenting up the yin yang—so I’m all for it. Especially, in Gaga’s case where I feel an authenticity to every genre she experiments with here, like country/western for instance. She’s an enigmatic artist and were not necessarily supposed to be able solve this musical jigsaw, or even ‘get it’ for that matter. That’s the beauty of Gaga’s art.

The good news is that Joanne, a popcowboydancesoulfunkfolkrock mash-up boasts some incredible takeaway hits.

The problem issaid hits” were released to the public in promotional succession before the album even dropped?

Tis’ true, that some could argue and by some I mean ME, that Perfect Illusion, A Million Reasons and A-YO are the best of what the album has to offer.

In other words, “Joannepeaked early.

THAT’S A FILTHY LIE!I can hear legions of Little Monsters spewing vitriol in my psychic direction.

Well, instead of tap dancing around the square footage of this review, let’s go through the album offerings at a glance.

Diamond Heart

For the first 30 odd seconds of this track, I’m convinced I’m listening to Stevie Nicks herself until Gaga, ever-the- chameleon soon transitions from a tumbleweed country rasp into her familiar dramatic vocals. I really like Diamond Heart.  It’s a song that begs for a film soundtrack to pick it up immediately, as I can see the synesthesia colours and scenes that it lends itself to. A great song to play loudly on the open road. 


A-YO is a fun clappity-clap pop track with an infectious chorus that brings to mind Footloose or the Coyote Ugly film. Again a great song to drive to or dance to on the top of a bar, if the kids even do that anymore?


In another departure for Gaga, she takes on a 60’s folk/rock persona in the songs first 30 seconds (again!), before she switches off into what I now see as a Stevie Nicks copycat vocal. The song, a dearly departed love letter to her aunt for whom she was named after is both heartbreaking and lovely. It’s a pretty tune, that may just be the only other stand out song on the album besides Diamond Heart—but again that is subject to your taste level. It’s a simple song both lyrically and in melody, and I’m not convinced its truly memorable despite its overwhelming beauty.

John Wayne

I won’t mince words. I don’t like this country head banger.

Dancin’ in Circles

With a “La Isla Bonita” sounding swagger and reggae guitar plucking’s, Gaga sings in various styles, including a Gwen Stefani baby-doll spoken word verse. It’s got a classic Gaga feel and is sure to be a fan favourite, but I could take it or leave it.

Perfect Illusion

The 1st of her album pre released singles, Perfect Illusion has a signature theatrical 80’s rock feel. I love the way she words the chorus lyrics, singing “perfect illoooosion.” Again, it has a classic Gaga sound and feel and was a great first release to encapsulate the album.

A Million Reasons

By far my favourite track on the album. Written with singer-songwriter Hillary Lindsey who also does those gorgeous  background vocals—I can’t say enough about this song. It’s a timeless ballad that introduces us to her country tinged scratchy vocal, that reminds me so much of Bruce Springsteen’s wife—Patti Scialfa. In fact a dream performance would be to see Lady Gaga, Patti Scialfa, Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Nicks in a foursome circle, harmonizing us all to a heavenly crescendo. Grammy’s 2018 get on THIS! This really could be her signature concert encore song going forward à la Bon Jovi’s Dead or Alive or Prince’s Purple Rain. To me its THAT timeless. A song that begs to be heard on a perma-loop play, courtesy of iPhone ear buds so it sinks into your soul.

Sinners Prayer

A HARD PASS on this country ditty.

Come to Mama

A derivative, Beatlesque-sounding tune that could have easily been a song from Hair Spray the Musical. It travels along the familiar GAGA trajectory of being an open-armed all-accepting MAMA Monster to her die-hard fans who have often felt marginalized. It would be fun for a flash mob, but I won’t miss it if I were to never hear it again.

Hey Girl

I had high hopes for this girl bonding duet between Gaga and one of my favourite artists Florence Welch. I loved it until after the first chorus, especially Welch’s singular brocade vocals that really peak when she sings “Hey Girl” in an upper register. As for Gaga, she sounds like a dead ringer for mid 70’s Diana Ross, as she again—morphs into another performance persona. A dizzying synth NOISE is introduced by producer Mark Ronson right after the first chorus and comes back in a screeching/nauseating way, that takes away from this song. In the end, I feel like Hey Girl, goes on a little too long, and becomes loopy sounding like a spinning record with a slight warp. It’s a must listen, either way.

Tell me that’s NOT vintage Diana Ross singing as Gaga sings us out on that last verse? WILLLLD!

Angel Down

An operatic ode to Trayvon Martin and the rampant shootings that have plagued the US in recent years. I wish I liked it, because I love the message, but it’s not something I’d want to listen to again. Perhaps its just to painful?

Grigio Girls

A cute, pared down acoustic song that speaks to sisterhood and female empowerment, but it didn’t speak to me.

Just Another Day

A simple piano plucking Broadway ditty that will please her fan base, but made me want to soft shoe the hell outta there.

Angel Down (Work Tape) 

I believe this is the original recording of Angel Down with little background music, but I didn’t like it the first time, so no thanks?

Back to her dive bar roots, Lady Gaga performs Joanne at the Bitter End on the eve of October 20th, 2016.

So there you have it, a mixed bag of eclectic offerings and yet I am only enamoured with 1 song. It will absolutely be music to her LOYAL fan base’s ears, and very well may be a slow burn that we will look back on DECADES from now as a MUSICAL GENIUS departure, but in this moment I say with great lament…

Move on, there’s nothing to see here.

We will always have a MILLION REASONS Tho’…


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Get Foxy-Ready For Fall 2016~Beauty Edition!



Greetings Gorgeous Lover Heads!

Sure, one could certainly make a case that I am ‘technically‘ late on the authoritative timeline for a fall beauty post.

But in my defense a) My entire life’s brand is built around the idea of being LATE as you will come to learn when I launch my 1st book + b) It just became fall in my neck of the woods like 8 seconds ago—so STAND DOWN SOLDIER, STAND DOWN I SAYYYYYY!

*I have no idea where that just came from?

…Soooo Whose ((((excited)))) for some FALL BEAUTY 2016 ??!!!



Getting foxy-ready for fall beauty should start to take shape in late August. I’m pretty disciplined with my skin and the state thereof—after all its the canvas that people first notice, amirite darlings?

I always recommend getting a facial that cleanses and relaxes the skin for fall. As for myself, I ventured off to one of my favourite oasis’s in downtown Toronto, the Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris. I enjoyed a decadent VINOSOURCE Treatment that uses fresh grapes, (yup fresh grapes!) + a host of luxurious Caudalie products to cleanse and restore radiance to the skin, followed by a heavenly massage.

I’m thinking of joining a reggae band I’m so relaxed!

Je suis glowing n’est pas?

I would also recommend for women 35 and up a microdermabrasion or laser treatment to get rid of sun damage spots and ruddiness, and of course a sesh with my boyfriend BO—all of which I’ve written about before. It goes without saying that cleansing, an SPF and moisturizer has to be maintained to keep your skin foxy on the daily.

Maybe she’s born with it? Like hell she is.

Maybe she lives in a Kardashian beauty blowtorch dystopia and simply tries her best to keep everything from falling, sinking or sagging!?

And please no letters about how you are au natural and never do a thing? 

To that I say, slow golf claps for you, McWrinkles.

My late mother was the rare exception to the rule, but after a certain age, most women are doing something to stave off the sands of time. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best, and if you can achieve it with appearing like you’ve done very little (like JLo or Jen Aniston) who believe me have both done A LOT, that is the ideal. I’m not one for curtain pulling on the beauty regimes of others, but its common knowledge that both look fab due to GOOD work, not miracle genetics—although JLO’s are certainly impressive! She’s also stayed farrrr away from the drugs & the drank and that too helps in spades.


Care Free Curl


Weird Science’s ‘Lisa’s’ 80’s Curl…

Not since the early-to-mid 80’s has curly hair been so fashionable as we saw for the Fall 2016 runway shows. And that’s good news for so many of us who have been flat ironing and blowing out our curls for decades.


Dark Brunettes

I do believe it was Kate Winslet’s ‘Rose’ who uttered the memorable line to Leo DiCaprio’s ‘Jack’… “Paint me like one of your Rodarte girls…”

K fyyyyyne, that never happened but the 2016 Rodarte gals really are my fall hair inspo foxy supernovas. Brunettes were seen strutting all over the runways, showcasing rich dark chocolate to jet black hair colour.

Bang It

Several versions of bangs were also front & centre for fall 2016 to accommodate stick straight or curly hair as you can see ↑ above and here. Honourable mention has to go out to model-of-the-moment Katie Moore’s career changing punk cut with short fringed bangs.

I decided to put these fall hair trends to the test so with my Rodarte gals saved on my iPhone, I set off to Tony & Guy in downtown Toronto–their only Canadian salon.


London’s famed brand Tony & Guy is all about ‘polished edge,’ and my colourist Nicole took me from my end-of-summer straw-textured brown/blonde vomit colour to a shiny and gorgeous dark chocolate brown.

Next up I was lucky enough to have a private appointment with Chicago celebrity stylist Anthony Cristiano while he was in town for TIFF! Cristiano is model Adriana Lima’s personal stylist and I was honored to get exclusively “banged” by him. Heh, heh.

 When all was said and done, professional make up appliqué  included—my beau thought I was one face with the late great Suzanne Pleshette but I see more of a Connie Sellecca circa ‘Hotel‘ vibe.

I’ll let you decide…


More Connie Selleca, Barely a Foxy Rodarte Supernova…

While my above make up is a tad heavy, I’m the 1st to admit that I definitely need to wear makeup (at least cover up, mascara & lipstick) before I subject the world to my face. Trust me, I fully admire Alicia Key’s #NoMakeupMovement, it’s just not something I can personally get away with.


Alicia Key’s #NoMakeupMovement

…And that brings us to fall 2016 make up trends! While I’ve written about my ‘staple’ fall faves in the past, I’m going to stick to specifically what caught my eye for fall 2016 and the most wearable trends. After all, what works on the runway doesn’t always translate to “back to life, back to re-al-ity.”


Dark lips for fall certainly isn’t reinventing the beauty wheel, but there are more options available this season than ever! From dark Bordeaux’s to matte blue/black offerings in glossy and matte versions.

*Click on the photos to see products.

Another micro trend that surfaced was a gradiant two/three toned ombré lip as was seen at Creatures of the Wind + San Andres. The idea is to put one lipstick on all over and then build a darker or lighter application of lipstick(s) and gloss in the centre. I LOVE, LOOOVE the Creatures of the Wind blood red effect.

Product Faves 

I simply adore Tom Ford lipsticks. While they are certainly an investment (*In Canada they are $68.00 each for a full sized tube) I have to say they are absolutely worth the price. The pigments are outstanding, the packaging divine and the lipstick lasts at the very least a full year. And because they are made with such incredible ingredients Brazilian murumuru butter to chamomila flower oil it can last several years.

Copyright by PerfettoME.RU


This fall Tom Ford re-launched their best-seller (*for a limited time only at Holt RenfrewBlack Orchid and introduced a newer pared down version called Velvet Orchid. The Black Orchid doesn’t go on as dark as you would expect and both are simply divine. I am also in love with “Jay” a colour previously launched in 2015.


Another colour that is back in a huge way is the classic red lip. Like the LBD, a red lip truly never goes out of style.

Chanel dedicated their entire fall 2016 collection appropriately titled LE ROUGE COLLECTION N°1 with a stand out gorgeous matte red called Rouge Charnel. That’s right the r is intentional, and not a typo—grammar police! 

Shiseido also launched their “Rouge Rouge” lipstick collection and YSL offers up bright red Baby Doll lip stain that is both for your lips and cheeks.

And lastly, iconic make up artist Pat McGrath launched her line Pat McGrath Labs line of Lust 004 lip kits online and through Sephora. The line includes 6 incredible high shine lipsticks, a gloss and various loose coloured glitters from gold to crimson red that can be mixed together or used alone. If the entire glitter look is a little much for your tastes, McGrath suggests just using a tiny bit of glitter in the center of your lips for a softer sparkle!


While I normally like to focus on trends and products in equal measure, fall eyes weren’t as innovative as I would have liked.  Sure there was the “dead in the eyes” smoky look that was all le rage (yawnathon, nothing to see here…) and the dyed eye brow trend might be great for an Oompa Loompa convention, (I’m sure there are several)  but I don’t see it translating to a night on the town, never mind the kids drop-off at preschool, ya dig lil’ mamas?

Instead there were a host of intoxicating eyeshadow palette(s)that that are more than worth mentioning.

Royal blues are a definite trend for fall 2016 (Navy/Cobalt/Teal) and I adore the Nars dual intensity eye shadow in ‘Arcturas.’ It ingénue who drips all the sexies—Emily Ratajkowski—was on trend wearing Lorac products for her teal winged eye at the 2016 Emmy’s.

Speaking of celebs who seem to smoulder for a living, Victoria Beckham launched her new makeup line in collaboration with Estée Lauder. Here’s just a sampling of some of my favourites, that deep forest green shadow and sexy 80’s-siren red lipstick are all kinds of YASSS QUEEN!


A palette that made my knees weak was YSL’s limited edition “Scandal” Full Metal Eyeshadow. The colours (notice the deep blue, the gold, the violet!?!?) the potential combinations, **WET or DRY**—I am having a full blown beauty big-O!  Everyone of  Tom Ford’s eye palettes are simply divine. Their latest duo palette is from their AW runway line, (Tom thinks FW is way too pedestrian to speak of, so it’s Autumn/Winter at TOM FORD peasants!) + I’m not certain when this last TF quad was launched but I want to warmly straddle it.

And lastly Giorgio Armani will only be launching their F/W runway palette (includes luminous sheer pressed powder) in mid October for a limited time—so who you calling late-to-print-a-fall-beauty-post Willis?



Nails and nail art are as common as a daily weather and traffic update here at The Pop Culture Rainman. While there were new fall trends-a-plenty, I didn’t fall in love with the majority of them and relied instead on my own broad tastes as CLEARLY, someone isn’t doing their job right at ye old FALL 2016 Trend & Co?!?!

It’s totally a place btw.

Chrome Nails



Chrome Nails are a huge nail trend that started making waves in the late summer that is still going strong for fall 2016. What may appear like simple metallic nail polish, is really the result of a much more detailed process of a base colour, a gel top coat, a nail lamp, loose chrome powder, a sponge tip applicator and Richard Simmons Sweatin’ to the Oldies volumes 1-3 on DVD.

Ok fyyyne, Richard Simmons Sweatin’ to the OLDS isn’t totally necessary, but I do strongly recommend it.

Personally, I think this trend needs to go back to Buck Rogers territory where it belongs. I find it tacky hideousness, but I know many women are loving it so here’s some rando YouTube chrome nail tutorial so you can get the gist.



In terms of Metallic nail art trends I am loving the following combinations of silver and gold…

…And these are my personal picks for French Manicure and Reverse French nail art combo’s with some of my favourite fall colours. Mossy ((deep)) greens are huge for fall 2016!

Lastly strictly plugging nail polishes might seem as mundane as walking into Starbucks to order a regular black coffee (I mean what kind of maniac does that?!?!)—but the colours available this season **feel** like a salted caramel mocha frappuccino with extra whipped cream, so were totes good.

Wait, what?

Polish that has polish…

*Click on photos for product info. FYI the Zoya colour is from 2015, but that and another Zoya colour called ‘Hope’ perfectly fit my fall colour schemes.


And that my lovelies, is how you do fall foxy beauty.

‘Cause being late is the new early


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Get Fall Foxification-Ready Guide~Fashion & Accessories Edition!


  • Fall greetings my kittens!

Sincere mea culpage for having taken a longer-than-norms blogger sabbatical this summer. 

What was I up to you ask?

Travelling the far corners of the globe taking up feline-inspired needle point and making sweet, sweet love with my boyfriend actor Charlie Hunnam, crouching in the corner of my shower with a sponge in my mouth to muffle the sobbing.

Also, I feel it super necessary to mention that it was indeed another braless summer…


Fall Fashion is upon us! That vainglorious time of year when I wade through the seasonal trends and curate a unique FOXIFICATION guide so that you are fashionably on point this fall, or as the kids like to say “so lit.

Ready, set…get F-O-X-I-F-I-E-D!

The Transitioning…

While this title sounds like a low-budge slasher film starring Caitlyn Jenner, it really is the conundrum that has confounded fashionistas for millennia: 

How does one transition into fall?

I say it all starts with your feet—specifically the coverage of them.

No longer are airy-fairy flip-flops acceptable post labour day and/or your Burning Man comedown.

Substantial footwear is how you take that first step into fall.

new apfel

I listen to everything Iris Apnel says. Girlfriend just turned 95, has her own set of Emoji’s and is a total ledge.

String Theory

Heels and booties aren’t exactly groundbreaking fashion intel, but a trend that unites them both this season are stiletto-high heels with string details in exquisite oxblood/burgundies & royal blues.

*Click on photos for product info

Honorable mentions go out to these g-g-gorgeous boot offerings…


From L to R: Brian Atwood, Isabel Marant & Francesco Russo              


Think grandma’s couch circa 79’ (that was covered in plastic!) and you will get a pretty good idea of what brocade looks like. It’s an opulent fabric worthy of a royal clarion call upon entering any room (that light blue Miu Miu ‘tho!) 

If its all a little too head-to-toe ornate for your tastes, the St. Laurent booties or the Self-Portrait Bomber jacket—another huge trend this fall, can be seamlessly worked separately into any outfit.


For this 80’s section, lets 1st set the table properly shall we? …Aaaand cue music!

This classic music video is brimming with sexual tension in every frame. The porny Cleopatra/Mark Antony scenes, the gushing background fountain, an astronaut writhing on a mattress, those pounding keyboard fingers—the whole spectacle is a work of artistic genius!

Back to fashion! First up I must give ample credit to where its due.

Holy Alexis Carrington-Colby **Feels**…

YSL came out swinging with its fall 80’s game—replete with sexier than thou nymphs slithering down a gilded staircase that could easily double as part of the Dynasty set. It’s all so James Bond’s Octopussy meets the Addicted to Love Girls with pink-neon-sex-lasers shooting out of their eyeballs—n’est-ce pas?

No, you cant see the pink neon lasers, but if you say Octopussy 5 x’s fast they will magically appear.  

Kinky 80’s

Ok fyyyne, I’m uncertain as to how I would incorporate these first two outfits into an evening out—and by evening out I mean Netflix, a bag of Fig Newtons & my Slanket—but I fully appreciate the dedication and continuity of it all. Kenzo’s hot pink zebra-striped dazzler might fair better off the runway in a separated scenario, and to Moschino’s biker zipper leather skirt vixen I say…er…Yayyyyy Taffeta!? I was wondering how and when they would bring that elusive fabric back, and look at that…look, eh…, sorry, yea.. I can’t do this.

But wait, I would so wear that Isabel Marant red satin sizzler (…or is it silk? Who could really tell?) but only with a pair of full body Spanx and if there was roller skating. There must be roller skating.

The best bet for you to incorporate some 80’s fall fashion into your ‘drobe is to cherry pick some key accessories, instead of going full-on ZZ-Top video parody.

From L to R: Christian Dior Earrings, Dsqaured2 Sequined Bag & Fogel of Switzerland White Lace Tights


I normally avoid the colour red like a Kardashian All-Weekend E! Marathon, but in a crushed velvet version in that Haider Ackerman Russet Red…I want to BATHE IN IT! Below are some runway examples of this highly wearable and versatile fall trend. Special shout out to that **swoony** Elie Saab Hollywood siren gown!

It’s oh-so SWOONY.

*Click on the photo for product info

Also if you haven’t noticed, fur is an absolute no-no for me, and just look at the things you can do with velvet these days?

I mean hello, Fendi bag!?!?


 *No foxes were hurt in the making of this bag.


Sweater Stuffs

Two great trends happening in the sweater dept. for fall 2016.

First off, the oversized sweater in a host of varieties by Miu Miu, Gucci & the artfully frayed Simone Rocha in black.

…and Joseph really broke the mold on bringing this trend to the forefront. I adore them all, especially the last one which reminds me of the 80’s NAF NAF sweaters.

Secondly, the sweater dress has made a comeback with a mix of classic and utterly modern interpretations. If I had the choice I would wear these solely & exclusively all fall/winter long on the yearly, until infinity.

*Click on photos for product info

La Feminata

I came up with this title, as to me it exemplifies the flouncy & lacey detailed dresses (and Rodarte pants!) that were front and center for fall 2016. Standouts were the Roberto Cavalli mustard dress worn by Beyoncé in her “Lemonade” video,  the ‘Chinoiserie’ inspired dresses from Alexander McQueen and this billowy violet stunner at Giambattista Valli.

In fact the entire Giambattista Valli (try saying THAT 5x’s fast?!) fall couture show was such-a-tour de force that it is best exemplified by Celine Dion’s vigorous brand of French-Canadian **feels** from when the chanteuse was front row back in early July.

But the true stars of the catwalk were those fierce Rodarte femme fatales in black lace and leather. WERK it ladies!

In fact their entire look (jet black hair & bangs, dark stained lips, is my fall beauty foxification inspo—coming to this blog in 1 week!


Fall 2016 was awash with inventive accessory options, but two bold trends stood out for me.


This trend is for the kind of women loves to make demonstrative entrances that changes all of the molecules in the room. A style arbiter and conversational polymath that everyone wants face time with! No other accessories need apply.

Top left to right: I spotted these Gucci works of art on Instagram super-fluencer Aureta + the stately lion gems are also by Gucci. The micro orchids at Rodarte were real and sadly didn’t last more than a day, but I appreciated the artistry!

Bottom left to right: It was love at first sight when I clocked in on those Simone Rocha precious jeweled flowers, they also come in black (hard to choose!) And mirror mirror on the wall…Lanvin’s show stopping metal duster earrings for fall 2016 and their resort 2017 tassel earrings for the win!


Pearls. Sounds about as basic as beige paint and a bowl of tofu. But these aren’t your garden-variety stepford wives pearls. Oh no. Pearls have gotten a sexy modern upgrade for fall 2016. Stand outs are the Dries Van Noten pearl pin choker (I love both colours!) and those pearl Louboutins are so much fun!

…And that’s all she wrote for the Pop Culture Rainman’s Get Fall Foxification Ready Guide~Fashion & Accessories Edition!

I know this barely pierces the fall fashion membrane, but be sure to follow my Pinterest for the entire breadth of the 2016 season.

Be sure to check out my Get Fall Foxification Ready Guide~Beauty Edition October 5th!


Stay Tuned & Stay Foxy,

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W Montreal Weekender Staycation…Can you go home again?

Can you ever truly go home again?

Have a new experience in what feels like an old narrative? 

As someone who was born and raised in Montreal—I know first hand what a culturally rich and supremely gorgeous city it is.

Living in Toronto for the past 7 years, I still miss the French influence of Montreal, the fresher air (downtown Toronto is condo construction city!) and of course my family and friends.

While I’ve visited frequently since moving, I have never truly experienced Montreal through the eyes of a tourist. I normally come in and stay with my sister at her place in lower Westmount, which was filled with familiarity, and the omnipresence of my late mother who passed 3 years ago.


This time around I planned a *solo* journey (a sojourn if you will) staycation at the W Hotel Montreal, and sis recently moved to the up and coming GriffinTown area. I could no longer fall back on old habits of familiar terrain. This was a concious exercise in getting my brain to make new connections and fire off some fresh synapses. I realize it’s not a foreign country, but Montreal is still a backdrop like no other, and stands up to any European city. 

I had a profound intention for the weekend itself. To connect with my deeper self, to soul search and to see my beloved city through a new lens and aperture.

Plus, I love staying at beautiful hotels. There’s always a palpable air that anything can and will happen. 

The W Montreal is perfectly situated on historic Old Montreal’s Square Victoria street and proudly faces a poetically landscaped courtyard replete with water fountains and gardens.

W Lobby

The mood lighting of the W Montreal Lobby…

The mood and architecture inside The W Montreal drips with sexy and sleek luxury. When you arrive at W Montreal and take in the flora and fauna of dim lighting, bold colours, imaginative seating areas + an endless stream of attractive patrons from all over the world—an internal whisper emerges, “oh yes— this is going to be go-oood.”


I check into my room which features a heavenly Queen sized bed with signature W Bedding. The bathroom boasts high ceilings and Bliss Bath sundries with a spacious Rain Shower. My view faces the spectacular Square Victoria courtyard and already I feel like I’m inspiring my muse to ‘come out and play‘ after a recent spate of ennui and creative stasis.

Away Spa

Away Spa…

On tonight’s menu, an early evening visit to the W Montreal’s Away Spa. Upon entering, I already feel like my shoulders have dropped significantly and that time is beginning to stand still. I take in the ambrosial scents of my surroundings while I rake swirley patterns in the exquisite Zen Garden set before me.

Zen Garden

Karen, my masseuse retrieves me and brings me into the treatment room for the AromaSoul Massage Ritual. She offers me 4 different scented oils to choose from, and explains that there is a specific massage associated with *each* smell.

I am immediately drawn to the fresh Mediatteranean scent, and she explains that the massage will entail circular motions akin to “waves in the ocean.” Being that I am a Cancerian water-baby, I am tickled by the suggestion.

The oil is first mixed in with Shea Butter and Volcanic Rock Powder for a full body application and exfoliation. Afterwards, I rinse off in a shower and return for the massage portion. The lights are dimmed and the music is a perfect blend of soothing chants and song.

As I let my thoughts wander, I start to make connections and answer questions from within. I see that I am currently riding a wave of opportunity, one that is at ‘ high tide.’ A wash of memories and familiar faces flash-flood over me. Some are more emotional than others, and like a *wave* I don’t judge it, I simply observe it’s natural ebb and flow and go with it. I relax into a blissful state and fall into a meditative dream-like sleep.

When it is over, I tell Karen how I had an abundance of wonderful thoughts and metaphors come to mind. I ask her what sign she is and she answers “a Cancer…” and it did not surprise me one bit. This was the beginning of many-a-synchronicity moment(s) throughout the weekend.

Back upstairs (plush robe still on from spa!) I order up some room service, capped off with an order of homemade beignets with chocolate sauce *and* lemon cream.

*No photos are taken to protect my dignity.

The massage has worked miracles, my skin is silky soft and I fall asleep instantly with remnants of donut sugar kissing my lips. Tomorrow is a big night out and I need my beauty sleep!

Sweet dreams are made of this.

Bonne Nuit! XO 


The next morning I wake up bright and early and head off to Montreal’s trendiest new enclave Pointe St Charles aka “The Pointe.”

I enter Café Bloom, and enjoy a sublime latte and some freshly baked treats.

Luxe Latte

Latte With My Name on It…oh hello loverrrrr!

The vibe is über hipster and I feel transported to Brooklyn, NY —except everyone here speaks French and the hipsters are less try-hard and impoverished.

Next up its time to get my hair and nails did. I saunter over to nearby M Salon located in the cooler-than-thou GriffinTown endroit.


Adrien’ does my colour and blow out to purrrfection, and my nails, like my surroundings are done super ‘pointe’ styles in an arresting ice blue!


Taking a leap of faith and trying a new salon has paid off! This is now my go-to one stop shop for whenever I come to town! Meanwhile, all of this beautification has made me honnnngray! 

Word on the street is that I must try L’Gros Luxe—a local eatery boasting farm fresh ingredients, many a vegetarian/vegan offering and inventive food combinations. It’s around 4:30pm so I’m turning this meal into an early dinner. My sister and I share a vegetarian El Burrito and a Grilled Cheese Poutine and, “yes” it is as delicious as it looks!



Yes, home girl here can eat! *Were you expecting a dandelion salad?!


Tonight at the W Hotel’s Wunderbar I will be attending the Back to Disalvio’s reunion party with DJ Jo Jo Flores at the turntables. Many moons ago, on Montreal’s famed St. Laurent strip, club Disalvios was an epic dance club that brought together people from different cultures and backgrounds all in the name of house, dance and hip hop music. The reunion has been held annualy for the past 4 years, but this is the first time it is being held in the summer and at Wunderbar. I can never extol the virtues of the yearly event enough! It never ceases to be a less-than-stellar evening of marathon dancing and great vibes. I mean who even gets to go out dancing like this anymore?! I cherish it! 



Wunderbar is as sexy a venue as they come— an adult playground, really. In fact the entire hotel is a wonderful labyrinth of initmate nooks and crannys, lounges and private bar service. Get lost or found at your discretion, (insert a wink-wink here!)

I dance the night away with old friends and it is exactly the kind of night I need! Except for the having-one-drink-too-many part, and thus in the interest of dignity (again)—no further pictures will be posted!

Hot Mess, but such fun!

I’m a *Hot Mess* but oh what fun!


Waking up is infinitely more challenging than expected—le aging she is a wicked foe! I ring up the concierge and true to the W Hotels ‘Anytime, Anywhere‘ credo—I request some Advil NOW in my MOUTH, or my head will surely explode thankyouverymuch!

Not but 5 minutes later I’m downing a trifecta of tablets with icy-cold bottled water they’ve provided (something tells me they’ve seen this scenario play out before…) as I get ready for a decadent brunch at Être Avec Toi aka ÊAT, just off the main lobby.

ÊAT is a feast for both the senses and the palate. The room is covered in dynamic pop art installations and paintings by a collective of mainly Montreal artists, reflecting the city and its vibrant culture. Read more how this unique concept came to fruition here.

I’m joined by my sister and a round of fresh orange juice and lattes are procured. The music is funky without being overpowering (there’s a live DJ!) and the crowd is cosmopolitan chic. Brunch at ÊAT is nothing short of a work of art in and of itself. The presentations are like mini Pollacks or Rembrandts, the pomp and ceremony unparalleled.

I am following the waiters lead in terms of ordering. ÊAT is very heavy on the seafood which is music to my ears, and he suggests a variety of plates for the table.

We start off with the ‘presentation’ of the Bakers Basket (a cornucopia of gluten-everything) that is wheeled out on a trolley with various compotes and jams.

Decisions, decisions...

Decisions, decisions…

Actually can I say that everything is presented in various trolleys and pulley carts? It’s quite charming I have to say.

Next up, a Salmon Tatare that is so exquisitely presented it demands a round of applause followed by a moment of silence for this masterpiece set before me?!

A work of art...

A work of art!

We are then brought a cart of champagne  elixirs and mixers and enjoy some Laurent Perrier Rosé—hangover helper/hair of the dog coming right up! 


Rosé all day…

Next we get a lobster roll and side salad each, and I’m happily eating and dancing while beaming at everyone in the room.

A couple from NY a few tables over is seat dancing as well and we end up inviting them over to have a drink with us. In another moment of synchronistic you-are-exactly-where-you-are-supposed-to-be/there-are-no-accidents scenario, turns out one half of said couple, *whom we’ve never met* works for a company that I had just been talking about days earlier. The coincidence (there’s more to it, but that’s private) just confirms that there is a divine order to everything and my spirit is buoyed even more (if that’s possible!)

I can't even?!?!

I can’t even?!?!

Last but not least we are served a gorgeous Lobster Benedict to share. Our new found friends leave us to enjoy this last offering of our kings feast.

This was an experience and meal for the record books! I leave fully sated (stuffed, really!) with a new set of NY friends, and a wonderful new outlook as I head back TO.

My weekend was a wonderful mix of the new and the familiar. A city has many sides to it, and a new connection can be made just by virtue of what street you walk down. Taking the road less traveled was the purveying theme for this weekend.

Like my city, I can visit my past as a tourist. I can take in the memories and the music, but I no longer live there. 

I think the adage that you can never truly go home again is pretty accurate. Home takes on new meaning as you get older, especially when you lose your mother. It can exist in the heavens or within a magpie memory, in ones significant other, or in the smile of your own child. It isn’t one place like it was when you were growing up and certainly isn’t restricted to an area code.

But man is it fun to visit

Merci W Hotel Montreal!


P.S. The diet starts tomorrow!

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Beyoncé’s Formation Tour a Must See!

Wednesday night Beyoncé’s Formation World Tour steamrolled through Toronto, setting up shop inside the mammoth Rogers Centre which boasted over 50,000 fans. The tour which bypassed Montreal for Canadian-only dates in Edmonton and Toronto was in support of her latest visual album Lemonade.

2016_04_28_ab_beyonce_mia_5c37c       Image: Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup for Parkwood Entertainment

The electrifying musical journey began with Beyoncé and her dancers dressed in black bodices, bedazzled lace tights and imposing wide brimmed hats courtesy of Canadian designers Dsquared2 marching militantly onto the stage.

Beginning with a spoken word call to arms directed toward the audience; “If you came here tonight to slay, say I slay…” and then segueing into “Ok ladies let’s get into formation…”

While there were fans of all ages, backgrounds and gender—this was a thematic show that saw Beyoncé at her absolute peak of unapologetic brazen female empowerment. From her all-female troupe of dancers and band members (her guitarist blew the audience away!) this was a show exploring everything it means to be female from a superstar who has truly come into her own as a business woman, a wife and a mother. Even fans seated in the far off distance were able to clearly see Beyoncé distilling each facet of her womanhood and proud African American culture through imagery displayed on a 60 foot tall rotating LED screen nicknamed The Monolith (seen ↓ below.) 

beyonce            Image: Daniela Vesco/Parkwood Entertainment

From recurring white orchid’s to a razor blade seen emerging from Beyoncé’s mouth, grazing her tongue—plus many a raw Lemonade visual—The Monolith narrated Beyoncé’s inner chiaroscuro of both light and dark throughout the 2 and half hour show.

The fashion was undeniably a highlight with performance segments designed by several fashion heavy weights like Balmain’s white lace frilly bodice + light blue boots and Japanese designer Atsuko Kudo’s off-the-charts-sexy red latex body suit. 

Vocally Beyoncé sounded incredible and her energy never wavered with choreography that knocked my inner-dancers socks off! From Afro Caribbean styles to pure show girl physicality in what was a sultry porno-version performance of Crazy in Love—Beyoncé dripped sex at every bump and grind. Also, I’ll be damned if I don’t learn and MASTER the Ring the Alarm choreo from start to finish!

Musical highlights were Baby Boy, the all-the-feels performance of 1+1make love to me...” the trippy Hendrix-Doors inspired Don’t Hurt Yourself which blended into the fog blow horn blasting choreo of Ring The Alarm, a heartfelt dedication to Prince by playing the original version of Purple Rain, the water splashing inspired Freedom was like witnessing a baptism towards forgiveness, and lastly a heavenly rendition of Halo.

I clocked in on many cleverly mixed in musical samples interweaved throughout the night like the classic reggae ditty “Bam Bam” by Sister Nancy, “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson, “Give it to me Baby” by Rick James and “Nasty Girl” by Vanity 6.

Beyond the ‘Lemonade’ emotional scars Beyoncé endured within her marriage, this tour served as an emblam of survival for all women, with echoes of her quote staying with me long after the concert danced in my head. 

“Nobody is responsible for your happiness but you. And you always have yourself so you are never alone.”

Yass Queen!

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Coachella Style 2016 Wish List!

Coachella 2016

Hi Kids! I managed to put together my first FLAT LAY courtesy of Polyvore! Have a look at some of my Coachella Style 2016 picks! As you can see Polyvore likes to add in some rando links for the Where To Buy section, but you can clearly find many of these hot items at their namesake boutiques or websites. Should any of you damsels get the slightest itch to wear a floral wreath crown, I say scratch that sucker raw and replace it with THE ‘it gal’ item of the season, a Yosuzi pompom straw hat.  You can also look for style inspo on the Nasty Gal website or simply strut yourself into any Urban Coachella Outfitters and you will be good to go!

Enjoy the shows!  


Stella McCartney Short dress
4,775 CAD –

Alice Olivia white romper
625 CAD –

Pierre Balmain high-waisted shorts
825 CAD –

BUSCEMI leather shoes
1,100 CAD –

Elina Linardaki leather sandals
265 CAD –

Chloé fringe purse
2,605 CAD –

Vanessa Seward leather purse
505 CAD –

Sophie Anderson travel purse
860 CAD –

Isabel Marant bracelet
410 CAD –

Tribal jewelry
85 CAD –

Nak Armstrong stud earrings
1,515 CAD –

Carolina Bucci sapphire earrings
1,870 CAD –

Chloé pendant necklace
755 CAD –

Sonix tech accessory
22 CAD –

Karen Walker oversized sunglasses
325 CAD –

CÉLINE cat-eye glasses
465 CAD –

28 CAD –

Yosuzi Pompom-embellished woven straw sunhat
505 CAD –

Kylie Lip Kit

Couture Candy; This Ain’t Your Granddaddy’s Fun Dip.


A previous limited edition from Sugarfina: 4 karat gold-dusted, Dom Pérignon-infused gummy bears

A box of Nerds is soooo very pedestrian, while a bag of Maltesers reeks of bridge and tunnel. 

Luxury and couture candy—aimed towards an up-scale adult market, is the latest trend in sweet bonbons.


Sugar Logo

Leading with their tag line ‘Candy for Grown Ups’Sugarfina is a luxury gourmet candy boutique curated by Los Angeles wife and hubby duo Rosie O’Neil & Josh Resnick. Inspired by their vast travels, they set off to meet with the world’s premium candy ‘artisans,’  bringing only the finest of ingredients back into their pristine boutiques.

Luxe offerings like Kyoto Blossoms, tiny sugar flowers imported from Japan and Baby Champagne Bears sourced exclusively from the Bavarian region of Germany (where gummy bears were invented!) are flavoured in Brut and Rosé. 


…and below Champagne-infused, handcrafted marshmallows dipped in 24K gold, their famed Bling Rings—sculpted from dark chocolate with a thin sugar shell brushed with edible silver and Champagne Bubbles dressed up in tiny white nonpareils—all superb for your swankiest cocktail parties.


With boutiques across the US and one in Vancouver’s Nordstrom’s and a newly minted boutique in Toronto’s Nordstrom’s!

Sweet Saba

Lady in Red: Maayan Zilberman Photo- Steve Earle


Lingerie designer-turned baker-turned rock candy confectionista, Maayan Zilberman’s Sweet Saba line offers a multi-sensory experience that is equal parts kitsch and artful design. 

rock shorterSweet Saba; Not your granddaddy’s rock candy…


The former Israeli and Vancouverite has been showing off her unique wares through a series experiential New York pop up stints, where she currently resides. Back in November, Zilberman created a conceptual ‘Candy Rock and Crystal Bar’ at Fort Gansvort and during February and March a  ‘Lovers Rock’ collection at The Standard High Line Hotel.  


Too beautiful to eat? A pop up display promoting the ‘healing powers’ of Sweet Saba’s gem inspirations.

Zilberman worked closely with a food technologist to create 30 experiential flavours that range in taste from champagne, grass (yes, actual grass!) bubble gum, bacon and whiskey. 

Clients can purchase Sweet Saba mainstays online—our favorite being the mix tape that can be customized with whatever title gives you the coziest nostalgic **feels.**

Custom Order the name on your very own mixed tape.


And being that Zilberman is never not dressed to the chicest of New York minute NINES, replete with red lips and her signature sex kitten nails, who can resist the lure of a one-of-a kind tube of lipstick—infused with vitamin c and antioxidants, no less!


Her designs are constantly evolving with each pop up performance, the next slated for the Whitney Museum this April!

Chocolates X Brandon Olsen



CXBO chocolates; Not your granddaddy’s Goobers…


Few new brands can boast A-List testimonials like Beyoncé’s, but that’s just what happened when through creative channels, QueenB got to taste Toronto’s Brandon Olsen’s delectable CXBO chocolates. “We sent some of our salted caramels for Blue Ivy’s birthday,” says Sarah Keenlyside, marketing director of Chocolates X Brandon Olsen, (also fiancé X Brandon Olsen!) Unfortunately the salt wasn’t suited to Ivy’s toddler taste palate, but Beyoncé was so impressed that she told her assistant that he “should have brought 100 boxes!”

Olsen’s chocolatier comeuppance has been a slow and steady rise after spending years as a chef de cuisine in some of Toronto’s most prestigious kitchens—his inherent love for “all things sugar” finally winning out. “We use really high quality ingredients and I care a lot about the flavour combinations,” says Olsen. “I think it comes from my background as a chef, where the design of a plate is important, but if it doesn’t taste good, your restaurant isn’t going to last very long!”


Luxurious flavour combinations like Lime Ginger Black Pepper, Raspberry Rose Fennel, and Cinnamon Brown Butter are part of the draw, but equally are the distinct artisanal design elements of CXBO’s bit sized chocolates. The moulds are a specific reference to American architect Buckminster Fuller who famously designed geodesic spheres (he did the Biosphere for Expo ’67 in Montreal), the splatter an ode to Jackson Pollack’s famed technique. Their boxes are all individually splatter painted as well, making every box an original work of art. “I’m a Lego guy, always have been,” offers the confection wunderkind, “and I think people who are into Lego as kids are inherently interested in design and colour.

Choco Lite
Holiday themed exclusives; a Valentines gift set and the magnificent Chocolates X Brandon Olsen Easter egg that sold out within days.


Presently, you can order Chocolates x Brandon Olsen through their online web site and Shopify, but coming in May CXBO will be opening a College street west location with an open concept kitchen—Willy Wonka styles—Olsen’s favorite childhood film!


So is there a price to pay for luxury? Does high design equate to some hefty cha-ching?  Well, yes and no.

Sugarfina’s products were moderately priced all things considered; the exquisite ingredients, the uniqueness of product, the displays and packaging—the overhead of being a stand alone boutique in a tony Bev Hills zip code?

Sweet Saba’s pricing is most definitely on the higher end with a customized mix tapes costing you a cool $40.00 a pop, the lipsticks at $15.00. But the creativity tho? The experiential flavoring tho? The vitamin C and antioxidant infused lip sticks tho?!?! Plus did we mention its KOSHER?!?!

And lastly on the topic of Chocolates X Brandon Olsen which were recently coined as “Too Die For” from a Toronto Life Magazine e-commenter, what is $18 for a box of 9 delectable bites— if not the most reasonable ticket to heaven ever? Also, Beyoncé approved?!

So really, why even try to put a price on zee works of art, n’est pas?

Until we meet again—parting is such SUHWEET sorrow


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Just the Tip(s)!

Who among us doesn’t have an erstwhile male-tale of “I swear baby, just the tip” stashed away in our collective memory trove—amirite ladies?

Why it’s as common as fondlly remembered lover linguistics  like, “You’re too good for me,”It’s just a loan— I’ll pay you back, stop calling me,” and “how’d you get in here, I’m calling the police,” …l-a-d-i-e-s, amirite?

…No, not so much? Ahem!

With seasonal echoes of SPRANG in the air, I bring you a freshly squeezed nail art trend—and a sad excuse of a segue.

In the opening credits of this latest nail art fad we see a resurgence of the French manicure, but instead done with colored tips! The base is clear, and/or you can play around with some opacity if you so choose.

E57CCB03-6AAC-4469-A3DB-C7F5CDE778A1 (2)

I find they look best on natural nails as opposed to ho-stroll fakes, but hey it’s your digits, do whatcha like!

Some more examples of “just the tip (heh heh, I’m criminally infantile) …

nailed final

Another brand new example of this, is an accented barely-there, speckled, off-kilter version, that I’m seeing mainly come out of Japan—the birthplace for all the best nail art trends. Have a looksee kittens!


To round out this nail tip confetti, is the Spring 2016 interpretation from fashion house Tibi. Nail artist extraordinaire Jin Soon combined the negative space, French, and open-V nail art trends into one graphic design dubbing it the negative split ‘tip’↓


All versions are confectionary perfection. In other words they are Beyoncé.


Which ones do you prefer or do you love ’em all?  Let me know!


Love & Rockets,

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When Breath Becomes Air; Parallels, Reflections and Synchronicity.



I’m of the mind that books—like people, come into our lives when we are oven-ready to receive them.

It doesn’t always happen this way, sometimes a book is just a book, but more often than not I find myself reading something that feels tailor-made for all I need to learn in a particular time frame.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi was one such read.

Originally published on January 12th, 2016, I recall seeing a slow trickle of cover photos splashed across many a social media posts, building to what felt like a synchronistic crescendo.

I knew nothing about the actual story arc, I just picked up on whispers that it was a transcendent and powerful read, and I liked the cover. I’m not sure about you—but covers are a big draw for me. It’s what leads me to pick up the book in the first place and read the back cover and/or flip through some pages. Not having had the recent luxury of visiting a book store, I didn’t have that tactile experience of going through my touchy-feely process and finding out more—just a visual intuition via online optics that I needed to read this book.

It was finally delivered to me by my good friends at Chapters Indigo on March 1st, despite having made a request for it in early February. This is not to highlight any fault on Chapter Indigo’s part, they are always sending me books well in advance for review.  This is more about my belief in receiving knowledge right when we need it and how the universe conspires on our behalf. In this case it was due to my late request and promotional back orders, that I received it when I did.

I read, nay, drank in When Breath Becomes Air in 8 straight hours. I experienced a flash flooding of memories and parallels that this book brought forth concerning my own mothers death, some painful, many of them comforting—more on this later.

When Breath Becomes Air, is about author Paul Kalanithi’s decade worth of training towards becoming a neurosurgeon—only to find out that he has terminal lung cancer in his last year of residency. The book details the many transformations and rebirths that Kalanithi experiences as he bravely and humanely comes to terms with his impending death sentence. Or does he? Can we ever really be ready?

Paul Kalanithi Photo: © Norbert von der Groeben

While it’s certainly not the first memoir to be written by someone describing their terminal illness as they were actually cycling through it, it was unique in that Kalanithi had a previous interest in the emotional response to death and dying and how to parlay that to his patients before he was ever diagnosed with terminal cancer. His young age (he was 36 when diagnosed), his wake of incredible accomplishments, coupled with his exceptional facility for writing, all added a unique dimension to this memoir for me. The-doctor-who-becomes-the patient narrative is also poignant as we see him go through the various Kübler Ross stages of grief—albeit, he humorously notes, backwards! It also gives readers a window into how Kalanithi, with his ambitious nature decided to spend his remaining time. Time becomes a precious commodity and the present moment takes center stage.

He writes:

Everyone succumbs to finitude. I suspect I am not the only one who reaches this pluperfect state. Most ambitious are either achieved or abandoned; either way they belong to the past. The future instead of the ladder towards the goals of life, flattens into a perpetual present. Money, status, all the vanities the preacher of Ecclestiasties described hold so little interest; a chasing of the wind indeed.”

In Kalanithi’s case, he and his wife decide to go ahead and have a baby through IVF before his cancer treatment starts. This was one of many passages that turned me into a human puddle from weeping my face off.

Will having a newborn distract from the time we have left together?” she asked. Don’t you think saying goodbye to your child will make your death more painful?”

Wouldn’t it be great if it did.”


My mother passed away from breast and uterine cancer that ultimately spread to her brain almost 3 years ago this April 1st. The spread to her brain was a surprise—as a family we collectively thought she was on the mend after she had her breast removed and went through chemotherapy and radiation. Her hair fully grew back, and while the toxicity of these poisonous medications altered her emotionally and physically, we were hopeful that she was going to recover. She then took a turn for the worse, complaining of migraines and began to fall. We thought it was possibly a stroke, and were not prepared for the shocking emergency room diagnosis that the cancer had spread to her brain and that she had days, maybe weeks to live.

She thought she possibly had the flu, and it was utterly heartbreaking having to tell her the diagnosis, after learning of it privately. How do you tell your own mother in so many words that she will never leave the hospital? We were in utter shock. It took us 48 hours of consulting with doctors on how to do just that, whilst unbeknownst to her we began a regimen of treatment to contain the growth of her tumours. I had never lied to my mother in my entire life, and those 48 hours before we told her were an absolute exercise in inner resolve and digging deep deep deep into the ‘soul well’ for every ounce of strength I could muster. I had to pretend that tests were still being done, making sure to never cry in front of her or lead her to believe anything was awry. It was gut wrenching.

When she was told, she accepted the news bravely and with grace. And although the doctors gave her an option to attempt a surgery, she knew it could be fatal or barely stave off the inevitable. The first night that she was moved out of emergency and into a temporary room, I spent the night sleeping with her in her bed, clutching on to her and kissing her, not knowing how much time she had left. I honestly felt g-ds presence with me in that room, in a way I had never felt before in my entire life.

Luckily she lasted 5+ weeks in palliative and did not lose her mental capacities, in the ways we had all feared in those last days. She was most definitely over compensating, but she always knew who her family was, and this was the biggest blessing to all of us.  The month of March brings with it bittersweet memories for me, each day marked with a visceral flashback tied to the weather, scent and certain music that I can barely get through listening now without falling apart. The frisson of winters thaw and impending spring is one that will be forever tied to saying goodbye to her. I recall the sunshine pouring through my mothers hospital window in mid March, with part of me wishing it would stay dark, and winter-like so she wouldn’t feel badly that she would be missing spring.

All of my senses were extraordinarily heightened during that time. I had bionic hearing. All smells were that much more potent. I was a veritable skin covered satellite dish. To say that the spiritual and cosmic dots were aligning and unfolding on a daily basis would be a criminal understatement. Words really don’t do those last synchronistic weeks justice, so I’m going to stop trying for now.

So many parts of this book reminded me of that long stretch of time, watching my mother slowly pass. The book describes the various brain surgeries Dr. Kalanithi worked on during his residency (so gruesome were the details that many times I actually gagged or looked away from the copy as if it were a television screen.) Despite the squirming, I did glean valuable information that reminded me of my mothers case, the various places where tumours can exist and how they can affect different emotions, memory and language. 

It brought the memory of those first 24 hours of my mother in the emergency room into focus, as looking back— after months of experiencing depression—she was actually smiling while we were taking various tests to see what was wrong with her. Her memory was also exceptional, that I’m convinced her tumours were pressing on some sort of happy centres at that point. Her relatively good mood, despite the diagnosis was ever-present for her first full week in palliative. It was an absolute blessing to see. It was also a comfort to be reminded through the book of the close relationship between Dr. Kalanithi and his oncologist. One of the issues that clenched my heart in my mothers last days were that she never discussed that she was going to die with me. I realise this was her protective nature, and was reminded through the book that there were doctors, nurses, and other friends and relatives available for her to discuss these issues if she wanted to.

In the books epilogue Paul Kalanithi’s wife Lucy, writes a posthumous update through loving reflections on her husbands last days. She explains that Paul passed away one year ago this coming March 9th, and again I wept as if I had just lost a very special friend.

He was only 37 years young.

Among her many passages that resonated with me;

Paul napped comfortably in the afternoon, but he was gravely ill. I started to cry as I watched him sleep, then crept out into the living room, where his fathers tears joined mine. I already missed him.”

This lodged an enormous peach pit in my throat upon reading it. It still does, just writing these words. So many times upon leaving my mother’s room, I felt the exact same way. I missed her already. So many times I longed to cry to my mother about LOSING MY MOTHER, but that was obviously impossible. I missed her before I physically lost her, and especially in those last days, the world of the dying becomes that much insular and they slowly pull away from the living.  

But not before I got repeated I LOVE YOU’s that I hold in my heart forever. She passed in the early morning of April, 1st, at 7:45 am lovingly surrounded by her sister, her daughters and grandchildren.


Paul Kalanithi’s knowledge of literature and poetry were awe-inspiring and an ongoing theme in When Breath Becomes Air. A compelling standout was how he repeatedly used writer Samuel Beckett’s seven words to help him get through some of his toughest days. 

They read: “I can’t go on. I’ll go on.”  

Simple—yet potent, reminding me of a quote that helped me absorb my own personal grief.

That time
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
without dying

I went closer,
and I did not die.

~Mary Oliver


To my dear readers,

I realise this is an off-brand post filled with the uncommon spillage of my own emotional graffiti and not the usual pop culture brilliance, yet frivolity that I normally employ in this space. It was what had to pour out of me after reading this book and I hope you can cull some sort of meaningful takeaway for yourselves. While I read this book quickly, it took some time for me to get through writing of this post, as it was quite painful to relive the loss of my mother as it is every year at this time. This post went through various incarnations, rewrites, and many tears.

However, I don’t see it as a coincidence that it is ready to be published on the eve of Paul Kalanithi’s one year anniversary of his passing, and on International Womens Day.

So with that in mind, I dedicate this post to the strongest, most selfless, and loving woman I have ever known.

My beloved mother Evelyn, who I miss every day—but especially every year in March.


New Crop





 P.S. …And now back to our regular programming → *Makes fart noises with my armpit.