The Last Frontier

This past July I had the amazing opportunity of going on an Alaskan cruise with my family! Upon arriving in Anchorage we got settled into our rooms the Hotel Captain Cook, leaving us the rest of the day to explore the the city. While in Anchorage we took a trolley tour of the city that gave us a glimpse of the city and it’s infamous Earthquake Park!

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{Our first glimpse of Alaska was flying over the mountains!}

To make our way from Anchorage to Seward, AK, (where we would board our ship) we took a 4 hour train ride across the state. While on the train we took in the most beautiful scenery, speeding past mountains and through various tunnesl(so many photo opportunities!); it really was a day to remember!

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{The train ride was absolutely beautiful!}

Having never been on a cruise ship before, I was taken aback by how massive the MS Noordam was. Once we found our rooms and got settled for the week the exploring began! Be it soaking in the hot tub on the Lido deck at sunset or eating one too many pieces of pizza at the all-you-can eat buffet (who’s counting?), there was always something to do!

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{Boarding the MS Noordam in Seward, AK!}

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{Our first evening on the ship, leaving the coast behind us heading out to sea!}

On the days that we were docked we had the opportunity to step off the boat for a few hours and either explore the city or to venture off into the last frontier (with a guide of course!) through one of the many excursions offered through Holland America! My favourite day was by far our stop in Haines; after leaving the ship we met up with our guide and a short time later were making our way down the Chilikat Inlet with about 30 other passengers. On top of the beauty that was the Chilikat Inlet, we even got a chance to see 3 Orca whales surface by our boat! After about minutes on the boat we pulled up to shore where we were met by three tour guides who would show us the area for the rest of the afternoon. After a quick snack we all geared up (life jackets and rubber boots are a must!) we made our way through the forest to the canoes which brought us about a 1 mile walk from the base of the Davidson Glacier. The closer the closer we got to the glacier the colder the air got– glacier ice freezes at -2 degrees Celsius and is also a different density than normal ice giving it the blue colour! By supper time we were back in Haines re-boarding the cruise ship, and boy was I ready for supper!

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{This photo was taken roughly 1 kilometer from the base of the Davidson Glacier, it was quite the hike but definitely worth it!}

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{Being able to touch the glacier was a really awesome experience (and a very cold one!)}

Okay so maybe I was wrong, I have two favourite days (can one really be expected to choose?)! The other day that I loved was actually one of the days that we spent out at sea. The captain took our ship through Glacier Bay National Park which is actually a UNESCO heritage sight. The water was almost a turquoise colour and we had the most perfect weather, with a good lens or pair of binoculars you could see bears walking on the shore with there cubs and even the odd seal floating by on pieces of glacier ice!

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{The turquoise water was beautiful!}

We didn’t end up going on excursions every day we were docked, we chose to explore the city of Juneau on our own for the day which ended up being a lot of fun! I had the opportunity to try crab cakes, find myself some souvenirs and explore the historic district which made for a pretty awesome day. Juneau is a unique city, built in 1880 when the dream of striking rich during the gold rush attracted many a hopeful. There is no way to drive into Juneau, it is situated at the base of a number of mountains and is split in half by the Gastineau Channel! It is home to one of the Mount Roberts Tramway, one of the tallest vertical tramways in the world, taking visitors up a staggering 1800 feet and offering amazing views of the city below!

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{Hanging out at the waterfront in Juneau!}

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{Almost at the top of the Mount Roberts Tramway in Juneau!}

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{The top of the Mount Roberts Tramway!}

All in all, Alaska was a dream! But like any experienced traveler knows, efficient packing is an important part of the planning process– but who says efficient can’t also be cute!? Here are some of my picks for your Alaskan adventure!

XO Emma

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This dress is the perfect choice for gala night!

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This scarf would be perfect for a day spent at sea– drape it over your shoulders to get double the wear as a shawl!

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A warm jacket is a must for an Alaskan cruise! You may find that the weather is warm the whole trip, but if that isn’t the case you will be thankful you brought a jacket (yes, even in July)! The weather out at sea can change quickly, and the temperature drops significantly in the evening! The fleece lining on this coat is actually a vest making this choice not only fashionable and warm, but a smart choice for anyone with limited space in their suitcase!

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This romper is not only a fashionable option but it also works well for layering, which should always be kept in mind when packing for longer vacations! Throw on a turtleneck underneath for a cooler day or evening spent on the ship to transition with the weather and/or time of day! 

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A good pair of leggings are a must when visiting Alaska! Throw on a black t-shirt, some sneakers and a light grey cardigan for a day exploring the city, or pair it with a shirt-dress and heels for dinner and a movie in the ship’s movie theater! 

 

 

 

Planet S Best Of 2016- Thank You Saskatoon!

Every year Planet S creates a poll where you can nominate and then vote for your favourite businesses (or persons!) of Saskatoon in a number of different categories- I know, it’s pretty fun, right?

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We love voting almost as much as we love reading the results- it’s a great way to find out where the majority of people like to go for certain services (and who the majority thinks is the best!).

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That’s why we were so excited to be notified that Tonic had won a spot in Planet S Best Of Saskatoon 2016 (once again, yay!). We are honoured to have won Best Of in three different categories- and it’s all thanks to you!

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Best Locally Owned Boutique

We are happy to be an independent, locally owned business in Saskatoon. We also love to carry lines by Canadian designers, including local designers when possible- but that doesn’t stop us from exploring the world to find our favourite pieces!

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We love that so many of our customers are busy travelling the world, yet always make an effort to stop at Tonic when they are in town! The best is when they tell us they recognize things in our store that they’ve seen in their travels- from Moroccan leather purses, to hand-poured Canadian candles, to sequined dresses and furry coats from the UK.

We also won in the categories of Best Boutique Fashion Store and  Best Women’s Casual Clothes!

We meet new people everyday that inspire us with their passion for photography, makeup, style, travel, and creativity in all aspects- we love to collaborate, which is how these gorgeous pictures came to life.

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Thank you to all of our customers who have supported us through the years, and thank you Saskatoon!

We are throwing a shopping party to show our customer appreciation, on Thursday, November 10th, 5-9pm at Tonic, 122 2nd Ave N.

Hope to see you there!

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Thanks to Insomniak Media for the photos

Styling by Tonic/Farminista; Anh Pham 

 

A Word On Retrospectives

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Timidly, I am choosing the limbs and breastbone of one,

 

A man who isn’t much for spoken words,

 

But whose touch resounds on me

 

With the impact of Halley’s,

 

Falling,

 

Landing,

 

A whisper into the ground.

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These images mark the end of a season and the beginning of a very new period in my life. Late this past summer, I chose to try joining the journey I’m on with that of someone else and I’m learning that this kind of thing – a relationship – is intricate and case-specific.

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Men with short beards, softer sides and hearts that are a rich basin of complexity. This has been my jam for years and the variety of men like this with whom I’ve crossed paths have helped to teach me lessons each in their own turn. However, what I’m learning now is that, despite a wealth of lessons that develop later on into wisdom, relationships can’t be tamed and constrained by algorithms and lessons learned.

 

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My dad said recently of relationships: “[he doesn’t] think that anything is natural or normal”. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this statement came up during a time when I was having difficulty establishing some sort of standard to which to compare my relationship. Since mulling on the truth of my dad’s words, I’ve been learning that generalities and norms won’t bridge the risk or heal the uncertainties that come with caring deeply for another person. The more familiarized I become with the beautiful and simultaneous contradictions that make up the man with whom I spend my time, the more I realize that there isn’t any reason for applying these general rules where close observation is merited. My boyfriend does things differently from me, and the more I learn his language, the more I’m able to recognize and feel the depth of his caring towards me.

Timidly, I am choosing the limbs and breastbone of one, a man who isn’t much for spoken words, but whose touch resounds on me with the impact of Halley’s, falling, landing, a whisper into the ground.

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Photography by Matt Lowden

Intentionally Sensual Soup for the Soul.

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I have to start this blog off by saying how fun shooting in this particular look was, for me. There’s nothing like a plunge neckline and a healthy dose of black to make me feel like one badass babe. The Luxe collection is full of special dresses that can empower any woman.

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Now, whether or not I’m actually “badass” is up for debate. I probably stir up far less trouble than that word suggests. However, I definitely still find ways to take my day from mundane to “man, I’m glad I was awake for this” and what I’ve found makes that difference is glamour. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean flashing lights, good access to life-threatening drugs or any sort of celebrity style glamour . . . What I mean by “glamour” is whatever it is that you do to appreciate yourself, to decorate your day to day, a glamour that’s specific to who you are as a soul.

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For me, this often means compelling lipstick and an evening out on the town or sipping wine with a good read in hand. However, it could also mean eating carrot cake in a foamy tub while swimming in unapologetically sad jazz. Sometimes, glamour means licking the tips of my fingers clean after eating my favourite pizza in bed . . . Or being naked in a creek somewhere. In fact, moments like these usually require little more than an appetite for feeling and are easy to achieve. All that’s really required is that I take the time. In our conceptions of people we consider to be glamorous, I think the concept of excess is usually a key determinant. However, what’s maybe at the heart of glamour is actually excess feeling and the capability, as Rox pointed out in her last blog, to choose to slow down – not to slow down permanently, but to allow yourself time in a day to really sensually engage in an experience that you enjoy.

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Sensual, intentional moments of indulgence – this is what makes me feel glamorous.

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While the accessories and carrot cakes and pizzas or whatever do play a part, what rewards my soul most is taking hold my creative agency to curate a moment that I can fully engage in. Shooting in this look, the sensuality, the thrill-seeker and the woman in me felt both acknowledged and celebrated.

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For me, this is the difference between “treating yourself” in a way that’s often used to enable excess and between allowing our souls the time to feel acknowledged and rewarded. Even if it’s as simple as putting on something that makes you feel vibrant or listening to an album or two in full, eyes closed, allowing yourself to be glamorous through moments of decoration unique to your own existence is life-giving.

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There are few sights more beautiful, glamorous or more compelling than people actively loving themselves before our eyes.

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Gadamer’s “Play” and Play in Life

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“By analogy, the work of art is also “the playing of it”. An autonomous event comes into being, something comes to stand in its own right which “changes all that stand before it”” (Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy).

The above quotation is a summary of contemporary philosopher Gadamer’s beliefs on the role of play in art. What I’m interested in talking about in this blog, however, is how the making and experience of art can be paralleled to the role of play in life. As Gadamer suggests, we as artists or rather people are players. I’m sure it’s been done before, but I’m going to set up life, in this blog, as being an instance of play, an artwork.

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A confession: I have always been a perfectionist. Now, this has its pros and its cons. My own approach to art and to life is often contemplative and meticulous. This also has its pros and cons. However, last year I encountered this text by Gadamer, defending the relevance of play in art, and it prompted me to reconsider my relationship with play and spontaneity in my own life. In fact, when I think back to memorable evenings or events that have unfolded in my life over the past couple of years, impulsively unravelling at the rate of yarn and into the whim and tide of the night was paramount to every experience. As stated in the Stanford entry on Gadamer, “The game analogy also serves to undermine approaches to art which are exclusively intentional, material and conventional”. Relating this back to life, I find I’m still learning that there’s a lot of value in refraining from trying to wield aspects of the future (career oriented, romantic, or otherwise), that haven’t yet played out naturally, into my present life. I’m actively learning that there’s value in patience and in play vs. control.

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“Art requires materials certainly, and an appreciation of how a specific tool might be used. Yet neither game nor art is constituted by its equipment” (SEP).

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One thing that the quotation above got me thinking about is how we as people often allow certain conventions, fears, and social codes to erase the play from our daily experiences. I remember a time in my own life, as do we all, I’m sure, when I allowed recipes for social success to dictate how I outwardly expressed myself, leaving little room for play or experimentation with my own appearance. As many of us come to know in adulthood, I learnt that – contrary to my fears – my social life bloomed tenfold once I removed the restraints that I’d placed on myself and began to re-allow expression and experimentation into my own behaviour and my relationships with others.

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On this same note, Gadamer suggests, as paraphrased by the SEP, that “the act of spectatorship contributes to enhancing the being of the artwork by bringing what is at play within it to fuller realisation”. What Gadamer is saying here is that the unpredictability of our interactions with others are what bring art or, in this case, the artwork that is our own lives to full and euphoric capacity. Here, Gadamer emphasizes the role of other people in drawing out certain colours or qualities in things. This is so relatable to everyday life in that it’s important to allow both ourselves and other people the opportunity for play. While companionships that inspire us intellectually are important, Gadamer’s theory suggests, to me, that refraining from undervaluing the people who always make us laugh and who inspire the desire within us to become wild in a way and to experiment – to relinquish both composure and control – this is equally important.

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While I’d like to say that I’ve come to this realization on my own, it’s rather a handful of relationships that I’ve had the pleasure of forming over the last year or so that have taught me that it’s liberating to plan to be together but to otherwise not have plans, that it’s gratifying to experiment in conversation and to have relationships where all you do is joke. . all of the time! So, while there’s a time – many times – for being meticulous, our lives are made richer when we, daily, become changed by art and by a kind of play that transcends age, when play and work are all the same – are life – and not just part of it.

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BODY TALK

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Does a fertile amount of cleavage make you feel freer? Heck yeah?! Well then this is the dress for you.

Just kidding. . . this blog is not about cleavage. . . but actually, it kind of is. .

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A young and still soft-spoken girl, I remember arriving at summer camp one year, having enthusiastically put together the items in my suitcase that I felt best expressed who I was at the time. Unpacking in a golden oak cabin with other girls, I remember then being told by our dorm leader, a girl just a few years older than myself, that my mid-thigh shorts were not appropriate and could prompt other people to behave badly. Now, this wasn’t the biggest deal and didn’t at all stop me from enjoying my week away. However, before assimilating into the mass of other boys and girls that afternoon, I remembering wondering to myself, quietly, if my shorts could really be the cause of bad behavior in others and feeling as though my comfortability with my own body was somehow shameful.

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In light of this, shooting in this particular look, an ochre decoration on my body, felt something like going home.

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It also cued sensations similar to that of a trip down to Fish Creek that I’d made with a friend last August. Wading in shades of Nevada teal and parting the kaleidoscope of sun reflections on the water, that same sensation of being at home in my own body came over me. I’ve come to realize, in a very personal way, that acknowledging my sensuality and carrying myself with that in mind does not equate the loss of either my grace or purity. Quoting from a piece I’d felt prompted to write later that day, “In solitude, I enjoy both the impacts and rising curves of my body, acknowledging this sensuality as an approval of myself, to myself. This is personal. It isn’t for someone else”.

This ideology is also highly applicable to the way that we dress.

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In life and in instances such as this – my figure draped in a lushness that exposes the softness with which I was created – I think it so important to not associate our own bodies with shame. Regardless of the weight or slightness of our figures, being a woman is so beautiful. I will continue to shine, allowing myself to radiate through and be complimented by what I choose to wear on my body. Returning to the piece I wrote that day, I’ve worked hard to know that “my purity and grace are interlaced in the way that I carry myself. As a woman, these two things are not determined by the way that people choose to treat us.”

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xo

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