Link Love 31.12.2012

Enjoy this end-of-the-year bumper edition of Link Love!

Firstly, some New Year's themed links: party ideas, a checklist for your New Year's party clutch (this article is a blast from my past-- I wrote it in 2010!), The Year in Sex, 5 Fashion and Beauty Resolutions, 50 things to rid your life of in 2013, and biz ideas for the new year.

Big failure, big success. 12 people to keep you going.

Tess Munster made a two-part collage of her favourite photoshoots she took part in this year: 1 & 2.

Listening to Ziggy Stardust and sipping Bowie- inspired cocktails sounds pretty glam.

As a queer person who's recently started listening to hip-hop, this makes me happy. Related: Autostraddle lists the top 10 queer female television characters of 2012.

Social Media-inspired crafts you can own?! Yes!! I want them all! I don't even care if that makes me a nerd :) 

Parrots universally hate techno. Hilarious!

Apparently Les Mis is not a musical, it's an 'Oprah'.

I often feel like this. Don't you?

Cake batter milkshakes!

I love funny signs! "I clean my house fortnightly. I'm happy" is my favourite.

Have you seen the latest movie poster for Catching Fire? It's gorgeous! Speaking of which, "eat your way through The Hunger Games"! Yum.

Jezebel rounds up the best nail art of 2012.

Let's end on an inspiring note: this is a great quote!

Happy New Year!

Image: Tess Munster

Music Monday: What Are You Doing New Years Eve?

New Years Eve is tonight, and this video is too cute not to share (for the second NYE in a row!). Zooey Dechanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt make a great duo. Enjoy!

Things I Love Friday 28.12.2012

It's the last TiLF of 2012! I can't believe it.

This week...

♥ I started planning for 2013. I think it's going to be a great year!

♥ I had coffee with Lin and Warren. It was wonderful to vent about the stigma attached to mental illness, in/visible disabilities, and how religion impacts coping strategies. Sometimes you just need a sounding board for those sorts of things. The cherry Italian soda was pretty good, too.

♥ My best friend, Chana, slept over on Boxing Day. Ilovehersomuch. We drank red wine, discussed plans for the new year and listened to Metric. Chana one of those precious people who, no matter how long it's been since you've seen them, you pick up right where you left off.

Little things which made me smile:

♥ Revisiting my teenage playlists. The Used, anyone? ♥ Trying on plastic tiaras at Dollarama ♥ Brunch with Vivian ♥ The Mindy Project ♥ A HUGE Dairy Milk bar... yum!
♥ Signing up for a Women and the Civil Rights Movement course with Brigitte (so we're kind of college buddies even though she's in Texas and I'm in Ontario?! Yes!!) ♥
♥ 'I love you' texts from my Mom, just because. ♥ The first snowfall ♥
♥ Tush is coming home from India this week! ♥ Crash Love ♥ News about this film. ♥

How was your week? What are you most looking forward to in 2013?

The Polish & Sparkle Christmas Playlist

For optimal Christmas spirit-inducing auditory pleasure, please eat Christmas cookies and drink a peppermint mocha while you listen!

Christmas Day - She & Him
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Judy Garland
O Come All Ye Faithful - Jackie Evancho
You Would Have Loved This - Tarja  
Baby It's Cold Outside - Chris Colfer & Darren Criss
All I Want For Christmas Is You - My Chemical Romance

I'll Be Home For Christmas - Kristin Chenoweth
Santa Baby - Madonna
Sleigh Ride - She & Him
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee

 Image Sources: 1 2 3

Christmas Nostalgia

Here's some Christmastime nostalgia for you, courtesy of All You:

Do you remember receiving any of these as gifts? I loved my caboodle and gel pens!

Holidays around the world, Santa Cat & Leadership: Link Love 22.12.2012

Fashionista reveals the Radio City Rockettes' beauty secrets.

10 volunteer opportunities during the holidays in Toronto.

Just in case you need help (the holidays can be especially difficult for those of us with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues), Mind Your Mind is a great, Canadian resource.

Let's all aspire toward this.

I like Kristen Stewart's attitude.

Fodor's shares what cultures around the world eat at the holidays.

50+ ways to be a leader.

I want to be this girl. Tiana is my favourite Disney princess!

A great article about femme invisibility. My favourite quote: “Femme means my feminism and my femininity walk hand in hand".

Finally, this Santa cat is so cute, it's ridiculous! And Sarah Von's cat looks dapper in a bow tie.

Enjoy your weekend!

Image via

Good Riddance, Instagram. Hello, Flickr!

"Officially: Instagram is dead. Done like a dog’s dinner. Dead in the water. Over. Finito," reports Gala Darling.

Why ditch Instagram?

1. [A]s of January 16th, any photos you upload to Instagram can be used in advertising. You will not be notified, you will not earn royalties, you do not have to give consent. If you agree to their new terms & conditions, you have already given your consent. [Source].
2. There's no guarantee that private accounts will remain private.
3. The fact that there wasn't even a clearly-worded announcement about these changes, rather they were embedded in the new terms & conditions. That's pretty shady, hmm?

Since the eruption of users' and media's outrage, Instagram has posted this blog, stating:

"Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos. Nothing about this has changed. We respect that there are creative artists and hobbyists alike that pour their heart into creating beautiful photos, and we respect that your photos are your photos. Period".

Privacy Settings Nothing has changed about the control you have over who can see your photos. If you set your photos to private, Instagram only shares your photos with the people you’ve approved to follow you.

So now it sounds like they're backpedaling?

Even if that's the case, I have a hard time trusting a company that would feel no remorse about snatching peoples' photos and made a pretty penny for themselves.

I understand that businesses want to make money (I run a business. I want to make money). However, transparency is essential. If a business keeps vital information from users (or tries to hide it from them, or doesn't explicitly disclose it), that's as bad as lying.

For this reason, I'm moving to Flickr. And the fact that there's a gorgeous new Flickr app, complete with filters, editing and easy scrolling, doesn't hurt either!

Join me on Flickr.

Playlist: Wanderlust

For my fellow travelers: here are some fabulous songs with places in their names, organized into a fab playlist for Music Monday. Enjoy!

Good Morning Baltimore - Hairspray
I Ain't in Checotah Anymore - Carrie Underwood
Shores of California - The Dresden Dolls
What's the Time in NYC - Garou
Down In New Orleans - The Princess and the Frog
LA Made Me - Alexz Johnson
Copenhagen Refugee - Horrorpops
American - Lana Del Rey
Way Down in North Carolina - Lauren Pritchard
California Paradise - The Runaways
Anywhere But Here - Sick Puppies

Image Source

The Polish & Sparkle Holiday 2012 Gift Guide

Still haven't gotten your Christmas shopping done? No worries! Check out these items; there's bound to be the perfect gift here for at least one of the ladies on your list!

The Polish & Sparkle Holiday 2012 Gift Guide

The gift that keeps on giving: A Julep Maven, Glymm or a good old fashioned magazine subscription.

Mix-and-Match Cookie Tin: A delicious present you can put together yourself.

Body Image Boost: A plush size yay! scale or body positive anthology would be the perfect present for any woman in your life.

Music to her ears: Beef up her playlist with some great jams.

Festive bubble bath: Ahh, luxury!

Indulge her intellect: An Indigo or Barnes and Noble gift card lets her pick out her own great read.

Champagne: Whether she enjoys it as an extravagant just-because treat or on New Year's Eve is up to her.

Julep and Glymm are affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Polish and Sparkle!

Ikea Monkey, Festive Drinks & Beanies: Link Love 15.12.2012

Oh my goodness! Glitter! I must make some of these DIY glittered jars!

How to give to charity without spending money. Great ideas from MookyChick!

Can't get enough of the Ikea Monkey? Me neither! *squee*

Hot cocoa with snowflake marshmallows! Another winter drink: festive fizz cocktail. And one more: peppermint hot chocolate.

 I love this DIY idea: make coasters out of maps from old trips!

I totally agree with The Frisky: we former teen goths really do get the last laugh. Goth-inspired beauty is en vogue this winter.

Few winter accessories are as cozy or casual as the beanie.

Best media errors and corrections of 2012: you'll have to read 'em to believe 'em.

This DIY wreath from Canadian Family looks easy to make, not mention festive.

I love haloumi, so this salad looks yummy.

Be generous on Twitter, says Brooke Warner. I couldn't agree more! (link via Alexis).

Finally, here is a funny gif of two bunnies.

Enjoy your weekend!


Things I Love Friday: 14.12.2012

This week:

Just a few days until I'm done my copywriting class-- that means I'm one third of the way to completing my web writing certificate at U of T!

♥ This past weekend I had an amazing time at my Aunt Suzie's. We made crafts and drank coolers until past midnight. Pretty much my definition of a good time.

♥ I did quite a few hours of Copy Consultation. It was fantastic. My clients are the best! (And you can be one of them... hint hint).

Little things which made me smile:

Wearing striped sweaters... lots of 'em. ♥ Peppermint Mocha lattes ♥ These cats
 Welcome to the Rileys (didn't exactly make me smile, but it was a great film). ♥ Pizza buns 
Letting go. ♥ My new favourite app Flyleaf's Fire FireChauncey
Metallic blue nail polish ♥ IKEA MONKEY!!! Cozy cable knit socks
♥ Laughing at myself for thinking the golden tamarin is called "golden tamarind"... oops!
Glittery eye shadow. Best Channukah present ever?! ♥ Planning for the new year

What was the highlight of your week?

When Someone You "Like" Gets Married

I feel strange writing about this topic, because it seems like something people in their 30s are worried about--not me. Not people my age. Part of me is convinced I'm still a kid.

So... News that a girl I went to school with-- and, okay, had a major crush on-- was getting married is a huge wake up call.

Her wedding was today. I didn't go.

I genuinely was busy today, but I also didn't want to go, because for the past couple years, on-and-off, I've been hung up on her.

I feel pathetic writing that out. But it's true. (And I did promise to be real with you, readers).

I'm pretty sure that I feel this way because she's the first girl that I was attracted to, and that crush helped me cement my identity as bisexual.

So here's how I'm dealing. I hope this post helps you if you're in a similar situation.

4 things to remember when someone you like liked gets married:

1 View it as closure. Allow yourself to move on.

2 Remember it's not about you. She's not getting married to spite you or to hurt you. It has nothing to do with you. She's in love. Let her be happy.

3 Know that it didn't work out between you for a reason. This is for the best. Accept that.

4 Be happy for her. That's the healthiest with this situation. This is for the best-- for you and for her.

Have you been in a situation like this? How did you cope?

75 Good Ideas for a Great Holiday

Here are some little things I recommend to make this winter holiday your best yet. Do them all or pick just a few, then tell me about them in the comments below!

1 Cupcakes! Make some, buy some... Whatever you do, cupcakes are always a fun, delicious addition to any day.

2 Stock up on magazines and novels. When it gets cold out, there's nothing like curling up at home with a good read.

3 Plan a get-together with your best friends.

4 Go snowshoeing or tobogganing. Great exercise, and a fantastic way to spend time with friends or family.

5 Stay inside and indulge in DIY spa treatments-- mani-pedis, facials, the whole thing!

6 Treat yourself to your childhood favourite sweets.

7 Have a movie marathon. All the Harry Potter films? A Fred and Ginger double feature? 

8 Taste a whole bunch of teas. Peppermint is always delicious. David's Tea's holiday blends look amazing, too! And Tazo's passionfruit is yummy and fruity.

9 One word: limoncello.

10 Plan a getaway. 

11 Take an online course. Coursera offers free online courses from top universities worldwide.

12 Have a Channukah party, complete with dreidel games and sufganyot.

13 Try glögg

14 Go winter camping and stay in a yurt. My family did this a few times when I was little, and it was a very memorable experience.

15 Turn up the heat, mix some piña coladas and pretend you're in the Tropics.

16 Learn to make a classic holiday recipe from scratch.

17 Knit a scarf or sew embellishments to an old sweater.

18 Go thrifting.

19 Go for a drive in the countryside.

20 Call your friends or family back home. 

21 Send handwritten thank you cards to everyone who sent you a card or gift this season.

22 Decorate gingerbread men.

24 Avoid the cold and stay in to organize your closet.

25 Invest in warm, high-quality winter boots.

26 Go skating with your lover (and hold hands!).

27 Catch up on schoolwork (or paperwork, or bills) so there's less on your plate after the holidays.

28 Spend a day doing absolutely nothing.

29 Volunteer (or donate money) to an organization you care about.

30 Send care packages to friends far from home.

31 Make paper snowflakes.

32 Drink hot chocolate with marshmallows.

33 Build a snowman.

34 Go to the beach and marvel at the frozen lake. 

35 Catch up on a TV series you enjoy. I recommend Big Bang Theory or Mad Men.

36 Go to shul or church (or whatever your  place of worship may be).

37 Make holiday cards and send them out to loved ones.

38 Learn a new skill, like calligraphy, skiing or photo editing.

39 Start a journal, diary or blog.

40 Find a new favourite indoor sport. Bowling? Roller skating? Swimming?

41 Go to a burlesque show.

42 Go for a walk at sunrise.

43 Read about Seasonal Affective Disorder, just in case

44 Email someone you haven't spoken to in ages, just to say hi.

45 Create a LinkedIn profile and a twitter account so you'll be ready to network in the new year.

46 Make New Year's resolutions.

47 Knock a few items off your bucket list.

48 Make sugar cookies or decorate ornaments for your relatives or neighbours.

49 Eat peppermint everything!

50 Host a dinner party.

51 Redesign your website.

52 Get reacquainted with your old favourite holiday movies and music.

53 Get a massage

54 Wear something velvet or sequined

56 Explore Toronto's PATH for some indoor shopping and exercise.

57 Light a menorah

58 Decorate a Christmas tree

59 Learn about a holiday you don't celebrate, but others do, at this time of year. Kwanzaa? Yule?

60 Go to the theatre

61 If you're daring, try a polar bear dip. I want to, but I don't think I'm brave enough (yet!).

62 Learn to crochet, felt or sew, and make something cozy.

63 Discover what style of hat looks best on you, and wear it all winter long.

64 Look at pictures of dogs in sweaters, because they're soooo cute!

65 Buy some cozy pyjamas and fuzzy socks.

66 Make soup. 

67 Peruse a craft show.

68 Spend an afternoon people watching at a local cafe.

69 Bring some unworn mittens to a women's shelter.

70 Have a hot bubble bath.

71 Read the classics.

72 Snuggle with a kitten.

73 Treat a friend to coffee.

74 Look at pictures of palm trees and beaches.

75 Chill vodka in a snow bank and make martinis.

What are you going to do this holiday?

Image Sources: 1 2 3 4 5 6

Weight Loss is Bad For You-- Really!

I went to the doctor earlier this week. During the usual check-up, she asked about my chronic fatigue. When I said it hadn't improved, she said "you'll have to lose weight".

As a practitioner of Health at Every Size, this upset me. Especially because she knows I practice HAES, that I do exercise and eat healthy, and my weight is still high (not to mention a non-issue).

So when she took my blood pressure, it was slightly elevated. I've never had high blood pressure, so I assume it's from stress (from our chat). Here's the conversation that ensued:

Dr: You have high blood pressure. You have to lose weight.

Me: There's no proof weight loss cures high blood pressure. What would you tell a thin person to do?

Dr: But you're not thin.

Me; At my smallest, 120-something pounds, I didn't have high blood pressure. I was told to lose weight but I didn't. AND I didn't develop high blood pressure until 10 years later.

Dr: That's not possible.

Me: Yes it is. Because it happened to me. Check my file.

Dr: Well you still need to lose weight. Your weight is not healthy.

Do these people (who push weight loss) even listen to themselves? Logical, intelligent individuals forgo all that in attempts to force people like me to lose weight, even though there's not a shred of evidence that losing weight will make us healthier. [Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people]

It's absurd.

In most of my blog posts I conclude with a paragraph or two that wraps up the issue at hand with a neat little bow. But to be honest, I can't do that with this post, because this issue still isn't resolved. I'm not sure what to do, past lowering my sodium intake and continuing to at healthy and exercise-- and ignore all "you need to lose weight" messages.

Have you experienced this? What did you do?

Cat Heaven Island, Sweet Celeb Portraits & Freud on Homosexuality: Link Love 8.12.2012

Earlier this week, a pony and a zebra were found running around Staten Island!!

The President Is Not Impressed is an entertaining tumblr. I am impressed with it.

11 signs he desperately needs sex lessons just makes me sad.

Look at the cats!! I want to live in Fukuoka, Japan. Also cat-related: this is an adorable Maru gif.

25 years of cell phones in a single image. This is so cool! Do you remember your first cell phone? Mine was a hand-me-down flip phone that literally snapped in half! Eek. Makes me really appreciate my iPhone.

These celebrity portraits are really sweet... literally.

Curious about Sigmund Freud's thoughts on homosexuality?

I love this cheap, easy decorating idea from Stars for Streetlights.

The 6 plus size models featured at Refinery 29 are beautiful.

Enjoy your weekend!


Things I Love Friday 7.12.2012

As I start this week's TiLF, I'm inspired by a quote my mom emailed to me:

Isn't that just beautiful? So optimistic and empowering. I love it!

This week....

I'm almost done my copywriting course at U of T! I've learned a lot and feel very accomplished. I earned 100% on my last assignment!

My bronchitis is finally going away.

I made a video to welcome you to Polish and Sparkle! The lighting is a little wonky because I'm not used to vlogging, but it's the thought that counts, right? Right?

Little things which made me smile:

Wearing earrings my best friends bought me (huge, vibrant flowers from Tush and a sweet little R and E from Chana). I feel pretty! Spending Tuesday with my mom. Buying a yellow and grey striped sweater dress (which I am obsessed with!). Sweet messages from Stacy. ♥ Lea Michele & Amber Riley's rendition of Take Me or Leave Me (from Rent) on repeat. ♥ My 'home state', Florida, is "the undisputed winner of WTF". I love you, Florida. Planning a visit to my out-of-town aunt's, for this weekend. ♥ Sharp cheddar cheese. Yum! ♥ This week's 2 Broke Girls was pretty great.

What was the highlight of your week?

What To Do When You Can't Sleep

I'm an insomniac, so I have lots of time late at night to ponder what I should be doing with that time.

If you can't sleep either, I hope this list helps you:

1 Drink tea, listen to music or have a hot bath. Anything relaxing that makes you sleepy.

2 Stay up and use your time wisely. Plug away at homework/work/a hobby. Read a book that's sat on your shelf unread for months. Clean the house. Anything productive. At least your sleepless night won't feel wasted.

3 Pray. I've become more spiritual in the past few years, and find that lighting candles and engaging in a ritual (I'm Pagan) or simply thanking the Goddess makes me feel more at ease. Gratitude has incredible healing powers, whether you're religious or not.

4 Research sleep meds. Zopiclone, melatonin, something else? Have a list ready for next time you go to the doctor and ask if a medication is right for you.

5 Lay down. Let your body rest, even if the rest of you doesn't want to.

What do you do when you can't sleep?

Image Source

Music Monday: Neon Trees' "Animal"

Good morning. This is your wakeup call :)

Today we're watching Animal by Neon Trees.

The band walks to a gallery through the snow, then defaces the building's artifiacts paints abstract art very angrily. And then the gallery's patrons (who are suddenly wearing animal masks) dance to the unmistakeable sound of Neon Trees' tunes. What more do you need in a music video?

Money, Mockingjay Cookies & Bad Fashion: Link Love 1.12.2012

Amazing Christmas lights.

Also Christmas-related: Dear Santa Letter sent 100 years ago found up chimney. Isn't that incredible?!

Another holiday article: Traditional Hanukkah Dishes. I looooove latkes!

This Christmas lyrics banner tutorial is fabulous. Glitter!

Great tips for saving money (and the picture made me giggle). The only tip I don't agree with is #9. How about you?

If being frugal isn't for you... Starbucks is offering a new $7 cup of coffee. Would you try it?

10 charming words for nasty people, from Merriam-Webster.

How do you feel about these "worst fashion trends"? I can't believe anyone ever thought drop crotch pants were a good idea, but I like spirit hoods. They're cute.

In rural India, over 80% of women use unsanitary rag cloths during menstruation. These cloths can cause infections and even infertility, cancer, and death. When a man discovered that his wife was using such cloths, he designed a sanitary pad-- and even tested it himself. Now manufacturing and selling the pads is a growing business in multiple Indian states, and a documentary film has been made about it. Incredible!

I want these Mockingjay cookies!

4 Twilight Movies According to Someone Who Hasn't Seen Them is pretty entertaining.

I like this career advice from Penelope Trunk.

Finally: kitties!

What did you read this week?

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