Wondering While I Wander

Lost in a sea with other tourists.

Lost in a sea with other tourists.

Pondering while I pound the cobble stone…

The great thing about getting lost in Rome is the scenes you stumble upon. It’s not about the fountain or the obelisk, it’s about the couple passionately embracing, the children with gelato running about while frantic mothers grab at them, the peddlers hocking wares, the locals rolling their eyes at the crowds, and the tourists asking each other to take photos. It’s all going on whether or not you stand there to watch.
The first time I got lost in Rome was with a girlfriend. We were leaving the Pantheon and looking for some church or another; while we had our faces stuck in the map we both heard the sound of rushing water. When we turned the corner of the dark alley we were in, the light of the piazza hit us. And the sight of the crowd stopped us in our tracks. The sound of rushing water was Trevi Fountain. And what a sight! I’m rarely overwhelmed, but in Rome it happens constantly.
While getting lost in my senses I tend to daydream, or wonder… I wonder about all the outcomes that could have been if I had done things differently. Or the choices I made and where they have led me. Sometimes it’s up lifting, I mean if I’m looking up at the Sistine Chapel then something went right. But sometimes a bit of melancholia washes over me. I can’t usually pinpoint what thought or reminder of a choice did it. It’s just a feeling that lingers around me until the next sight or smell jogs my mind to happier thoughts. Like trying the pizza at a pizzeria I just stumbled in front of.
You can’t plan how a place will make you feel, or hope for a great life changing trip. What you can plan for, at least when in Rome is free time! Time to get lost in piazzas, delicious pastas, and lots of pizza!
Ara verdicci!

Fontana di Trevi by night


The Noise

Toronto though Cherry Blossom Glasses
Photo Credit: Ana B.

Unless you’re from Toronto you will never be able to appreciate The Noise. The Noise is what I miss most. The streetcars, the rumbling of the subway under foot, the accents and languages, the clatter of plates and glasses on outdoor patios, the always present music and radio voices from passing cars…

I never noticed there are lilac trees on the north-west corner of King and University. I guess when you stop to appreciate one thing your senses lead you to others.

While I was focusing on the elements that make up the Noise in Toronto, I got a lingering whiff of the lilacs. The intoxicating fragrance floated past my nose and stopped me in my tracks. I stood there for a moment and relished the Noise and the lilacs.

The memory of standing there is my new peaceful place. Namaste.

A bit more about moi!

Being a product of the 80’s, a hot mom, a cool dad, born and raised in downtown Toronto, Bloor Street to be exact, had its privileges. Holt Renfrew was literally next door and I could get to it without going outside. Besides walking by shop windows down Bloor Street to get to elementary and high school, being surrounded by a vast array of cultures growing up I have really developed a multi layered aesthetic.

My mother was a tailor when I was growing up, I lived and breathed men’s suits. She developed into more of a couturier which is when I developed my strong feeling that everyone should wear custom. And if not custom – at least clothing that FITS them.

I’ve worked in events (MAC Cosmetics, M5V Events, multiple brands including Absolut, Jagermeister, Canadian Club, private and public events, Fashion Cares) fashion (styling, consulting, personal and corporate shopping, and sales) and marketing.

Out of everything I’ve done, I love dressing and styling men. Being a Personal Haberdasher was defiantly my favourite positions. Men are open to trying things with clothing. They get excited when they get dressed! Clothing is an accessory to their mood or goals. They don’t open their closest in the morning and think “How do I feel today? Well there’s nothing to wear so I’ll be in a bitchy grumpy mood.” They think “I have this meeting and that date, and after my amazing day yesterday I feel a little flashy. I’m going to throw on this gingham shirt with these cufflinks, and this suit, I think Billy said this tie is a good fit.” Boom. An outfit is made.

…Of course there are shoes, and belts, socks, pocket squares, maybe a tie clip, … But the bottom line is Men dictate their own mood. Clothing is free to be an expression of them.

For Manly things and outfit inspiration: BillyButtery.tumblr.com

Pinterest for a visual journey http://pinterest.com/billybuttery/men-s-style/ and http://pinterest.com/billybuttery/man-things/

Twitter @billybuttery – which is my thoughts, musings, links to my tumblr and of course this blog!

Me in a few words:

Bubbly. Immensely enjoy food. Love old buildings, lace, the colour pink, champagne, castles, old leather books, stilettos, Hendricks on the rocks with cucumber slice.

I’m upfront about my “girly-ness” It’s out there for all to see. Life is about Ying and Yang. I’m who I am: Blush Sparkly Pink through and through. Which is why I love rooms that smell of leather and rich mahogany and working with wool, tweed, herringbone, in navy, charcoal, and leather of all colours.

The sound of Christmas

Music is such an important element in my life.

I’ve always heard scents can bring to focus a long forgotten memory. But for me it’s music.

Music was always present in my childhood. My father, once in a band, cherishes music the way some cherish fine wine or cigars. Music is a passion of his. He learnt to play guitar and the piano by ear. He loves music, and passed that on to me. Good music is good music.

Okay, yes I do enjoy the odd Top 40…crank dat souja boy…but if you take a stroll through my iTunes one would be surprised by its vastness.

Christmas is my favourite of the year. Surprise surprise. My favourite Christmas tradition with my parents and brother is Christmas Eve we all hang out and listen to music. Pleasing four individuals from essentially four different generations isn’t an easy task. But amazing well written music transcends.

When asked what’s my favourite genre I’m at a loss for a description besides: everything!

Favourite artists? Sam Cook, Kayne West, Christian Aguilar, Stevie Wonder, Ashanti. Okay so maybe R&B? My favourite girl group growing up was defiantly Destiny’s Child.

But favourite all time songs? Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Wicked Games, What Child Is This, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, What A Wonderful World, Train In Vain, Do I Do…

As I write this music is playing in the background.

Enjoy your holidays! Xxo


Dollars & Sense

I was running along the canal one hot afternoon. Really pushing myself, I was in a good mood. It was one of those incredible summer days that seems to last forever. You know when you make deals with yourself during workouts? “I’ll walk/rest at the next lamppost/bench…” I choose a water fountain a few meters away. When I stopped and stooped down to drink the most peculiar nostalgia washed over me. The smell of the metal from the tap. The cold water hitting my mouth and splashing against my face. It’s an almost greedy sensation; you can’t chug the water back. I felt like a kid again. I was monetarily transported from beside the canal in Ottawa to Ramsden Park in Toronto. It was an odd lighthearted feeling that sort of stayed with me all day.

The best feelings in life are free.


Flirting with a gay man is the best form of working out your flirting skills. Personally, I think they are the masters at it. Their witty banter and compliments on your choice of outfit pieces, “did you blow dry your hair differently?” Yes, and thank you for noticing.

You know who deserves all your best flirting? Your significant other. I think often we forget that.

My parents taught me it’s not flirting, it’s just good PR. I am often accused of flirting. Is it a bad thing? I don’t think so. I often get bad service, customer service representatives rarely go above and beyond for me, and I NEVER get on the TTC free, what am I doing wrong? I do however get a lot of dates……..

The cashier, the attractive person on the elevator you make small talk with, the flight attendant, the barista at Starbucks, the security guard at the nightclub: they get the Best You. The fun, easy-going, I-don’t-care-that-person-butt-in-front-of-me, smiley, twinkle-in-your-eye You. Do they deserve it?

These everyday people don’t deserve to have the grumpy you. They don’t know what went on in your day. But does your Love? Your family? Your nearest and dearest? No. They don’t know what went on in your day either. All they know is you walked in the front door with a grimace and a mumble.

Don’t they deserve the lingering smile under long lashes and the cheerful answer “Good. How was YOUR day?” Just like the flight attendant got?

I say, go home and flirt. Flirting is the most fun you can have without taking your clothes off. You know why? It’s a lie. You are acting. You are acting like you didn’t miss the train, plane. or bus. Acting like you didn’t spill coffee all over yourself before a meeting. Acting like you don’t know this person for real and if you say a line and it comes across as cheesy it doesn’t matter because what are the chances of seeing them again. Flirting is a lie of your state of mind and a wonder of where it will lead. Fake it till you make it. Flirt until you are doing it.

Smiling will put you in a better mood. Fact. So will acting like you had the best day, all the confidence in the world, and you’re ready for any party that’s about to break out, will it put you in a good mood? Yes. Well, for me it does.

So do it. Flirt with everyone. Make eye contact. Smile, even if it’s just with your eyes (Tyra styles). Flip your hair, tilt your head back and shrug you shoulders like a model. And make small talk! What’s the harm? You make a connection with someone? A brief interacting and a giggle? Maybe it puts you in a better mood. Maybe it puts a smile on your face, that someone else sees, that puts a smile on their face.

Flirting, like smiling, is infectious.

Pass along the smile, flirt, and hopefully have a good night at home… (insert cheesy wink face here).

Change a Year Brings

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

-T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

Where were you last year? This month, this day, this hour, this moment. Where in the world were you? What were you doing? What was your state of mind?

Every experience and encounter we have throughout a year changes our perspective and our reactions. I’ve always felt that when you meet someone they teach you something, or you teach them. Some people mean more to us, and sometimes we mean more to them.

A close friend recently said “Lesson, Season, or Lifetime” as how she defines people she meets. She’s a Lifetime/Lifer to moi. This time last year I would have thought the last place on EARTH I would be is in my house in a different city, sitting at a dinning room table with a woman I meet months ago in our house that we rent while I wrote this and she responded to emails with music on in the background and glasses of wine within arms reach.

Literally this time last year I was still living in my hometown, in my apartment in the middle of downtown, alone, working away, while feeling guilty I wasn’t packing for my approaching Europe vacation. I was also in a toxic relationship, doing a job I was good at but didn’t like, stressed to the max and 10 pounds underweight.

I am happy and thankful for where I am today. Life was a dizzying swirl of activity since December 2011 that just seems to be settling into place. I can take deep breaths and am not bracing for a disaster at every corner. Embrace the tough times, it helps you appreciate the mundane.

Frenemies: We weren’t that close anyways. Part Deux

We weren’t that close anyways. Part Deux

We’re not all Liz Taylor!: Elizabeth Taylor, Eddie Fisher & Debbie Reynolds

When friends cut you off for their insignificant other.

You called your good friend so-and-so. No answer. You texted, bbm-ed, what’s app-ed, Facebooked, and even ran into them and told them to message you. Still nothing.

You are in Friend Dumpsville.

Are they dating someone? Someone new? Or did it just get serious between them?

Maybe that’s why. Are they one of those girls that throws themselves into a new relationship, abandoning friendships? Maybe their boyfriend is insecure and would prefer all of their girlfriends attention and he is weaning her away from you and other friends. Are they a guy friend with a new jealous-type girlfriend? Or did the girlfriend just realize you’re a girl?

Whatever the case, it’s sometimes hard to move on. After you have spent time and energy and invested in a friendship, to see how seemingly easy it is for the other person to just walk away, it hurts. How can you not take it personally when it is?

In cases like this it is important to nip it in the bud. I think the worst thing you can do is let time go by. It just gets more awkward and you drift further apart. If they are avoiding you or denying that there is a problem maybe they are a weak-willed person and are letting the other person take the reins.

Personally, no one I have ever dated has had to cut friends off for me. I’m not the type. I have been cut: usually gradually, however some of my guys friends have come right out and said it. Gotta respect when a pussy comes out and says he’s cutting you out for…well…pussy. Can’t even hate. BUT maybe date a girl secure enough for you to have girl friends…? Just a thought.

The important thing is to remember the good times. As much as you want to yell at the person and say “What the hell? Where was she when I was there for you?” You need to refrain. Love is hard to come by, and maybe they’re in love with this dumb bitch (girl or guy). Just rest easy knowing that your friend cared enough about you to talk about you, how great you are, how fun, pretty, all the fun times, etc. for their insignificant other to feel the need to push you out of the picture.

Good riddance. Chock up the Douces.

In Honour Of…

The Diamond Jubilee

My Great Grandmother will be 105 this August. She attended the Coronation of the Queen.

A few years ago my Great Grandma gave me a box of paraphernalia from when she was in London for the Coronation. There are ticket stubs, a menu, a program, and a couple of newspapers from around the same time. (There is also a few things from when she was in Paris right after.)

I love balls. There’s a great section in the May issue of UK Vogue where women and designers talk about wearing and designing ball gowns.* There was also a little blurb about all the colours the Queen has worn in the last year. Great issue.

Anyways, balls and gowns: I take all opportunities to dress up. Nothing has the same feelings as slipping on a beautiful gown. All of a sudden you’re standing up straighter, your chin is a little higher, and you seem to have a glow.  I can only imagine how glamorous she looked on the day, and how dapper my Great Grandfather looked.


*The May Issue http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2012/04/05/charlize-theron-vogue-cover—may-issue-british-vogue/gallery/image/6

50 Shades of Crismon

So I’m reading it. Along with everyone else; 50 Shades of Grey.

Everyone I chat with is reading it. Mostly women, although in the last two days I have seen 3 men reading it. Research? Tips and tricks?

I’ll be honest. The push to buy a Kobo? (which I love ps.) So I could read 50 Shades of Grey without people knowing what I was reading. I think of those men, almost embarassed, hiding the cover. Me however: I loudly talk about it. I think everyone should read it.

My first knowledge of it was a girlfriend of mine asking “have you heard about the new books? The mommy porn books?!” She couldn’t remember the name but remembered the cover was of a mens’ tie. And since I do love a man in a tie I sussed it out immediately.

I don’t want to over sell this but: Yes, the book is amazing. I literally have to stop myself from reading it at times because I feel my face starting to burn up and I’m in public. It’s hot.

The night I bought it I read for 9 hours straight. No lie. I have the Kobo achievement awards to prove it. I opted for the trilogy, slightly worried when I bought it. But so glad I did. I’m on to the second one and it’s even better.

Buy it. Now.

Laters, baby.

Nautical Mouth

Okay so my drawing skills could use some practice but you get the idea…

Why are young women so comfortable swearing? I am very comfortable using choice four letter words. I used to blame it on working customer service for so many years. I’m so careful with the language I use in front of customers/clients/passengers that when I’m behind closed doors the curse words fly.

I could also blame my mom. She has LITERALLY made truckers blush. But everyone blames moms, so I won’t.

It really hit me the other day when I was having lunch with a male friend. He was telling a story “And she said f-this. And if that was her feeling, then f-that too.” And in my mind I was finishing his words…Fuck…and fuck…? I actually thought what a weirdo, why won’t he just use the damn words? Loser. Ummm. Is that the right feeling?! Why wasn’t a grown man comfortable using these words while telling a story? Because he’s a gentleman, in front a lady (I use this term freely, obviously) and we were in the middle of a restaurant having lunch.

Hmmm. Why do ladies of my generation swear so easily? I used to notice when my friends didn’t swear. I thought it was odd and made a judgement they didn’t have the confidence to use such strong words. Maybe it’s the other way around?

I do think the more you use a word, the more comfortable you are saying it. Maybe I’m just used to hearing and saying those words. That’s it, I’ll blame it on society…?

Emily Post said “Profanity is the sign of an unchallenged mind.” Eeek. Little harsh don’t ya think? I wrote it on my mirror. Hopefully it will help my potty mouth…?

What should my self-inflicted punishment be? …Frankly it doesn’t matter because I won’t enforce it. BUT starting today No More Swearing.

Some of my favourite alternative swear words:

Bugger / Bug Off : Jerk / Fuck Off

Street Rat : From Aladdin – King of Thieves, I like using this because it makes me laugh a little. After I got my brother to sit through it (years ago!), to him the ultimate insult was to call someone a Street Rat. He was 5 at the time. He said it with such gusto and conviction I still think of it as a completely serious insult.

Darn / Darn It

Mistletoe Fiddle Fattle : From the KFC Christmas commercial a couple of years back? Good one.


H-E-Double Hockey Sticks : A pretty Canadian saying

In spirit of The Actors Studio, what’s your favourite swear word?