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Shannon Hunter: The perfect time to say ‘I love you’

There have been a couple of moments recently where I’ve realized that I’m not just in love with Boyfriend, I’m head over heels cartoon birds singing me songs when I wake up IN LOVE. But I still don’t know how to say it; probably because I’ve spent the past couple of weeks trying to find the perfect time to say the words, “I. Love. You.”

I don’t think there is a perfect time though, I don’t think that we need to be on the island with all of our friends, or on a trip to the beach or anything other than with each other; as many times as I’ve said it to the air for it to count he kind of has to be in the same room and within hearing distance.

I’ve taken to poking at him and saying his name but every time he says, “What?” I sing-song, “Never mind,” which drives him mad but it’s become an inside joke between us; it reminds me of The Princess Bride, never mind is my as you wish.

I was afraid before, afraid to wait the eons that exist between, I love you and I love you too, but now my fear is outweighed by my desire to tell him how much he means to me. I’m a lucky girl, how I ended up with someone who can make my heart speed up and slowdown in the same breath I don’t know. But I do know that I am a lucky girl. I never thought I would find someone who fit perfectly in to my life and into my heart.

I’m terrified that he won’t say it back, I’ve never been more afraid of anything, but I don’t need to find the perfect time to tell him that I love him, I just need to tell him. I can tell him when we’re making dinner, when we’re going for a swim at my pool or when we’re sitting on the couch watching more HBO than we probably should; because there is no perfect time to tell someone that your life is better with them in it.

So my life is better with Boyfriend in it and I need him to know that because the words are practically bursting from my throat, because saying it is better than not saying it, because even if he doesn’t say it back I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. But he better say it.

Maybe I’ll say it tomorrow, maybe I’ll say it the next time he wears the blue shirt that makes his own blue eyes sparkle, maybe I’ll say it the next time I fall asleep next to him after a day in the sunshine or maybe I’ll just say it the next time he smiles at me. I’ll never find the right time and nothing in life is ever perfect but maybe I’ll luck out and find a slightly more appropriate time than while playing video games or falling asleep.

Women of the week: ILana Tarutina

Music has always been a big part of ILana Tarutina’s life. She started singing in choirs at the age of 8, then started taking private vocal lessons and piano lessons at the Royal Conservatory of Music. With the knowledge gained from this, she started composing and creating tracks.

“By the age of 14 I was writing my own songs and at 16 I got my first set of music production equipment and started dabbling with arranging and beat making,” she says.

Now, she owns ILE Records, a company that offers songwriting, composition, production, recording and mixing.
“I’m proud of myself for building my production studio from scratch,“ she says.

As a female producer, she is an oddity in her field. She is quick to recognize this fact, yet remains hopeful for change.
“Unfortunately in my industry, men still heavily dominate the role of a music producer. I’m sure that will change within time, as there are more and more female producers on the rise.”

Despite this amazing accomplishment, she is still incredibly humble and is quick to recognize that she is not a perfect fit for everyone.
“As far as me producing for other artists goes, it’s all about what the artist is looking for, sometimes I may be a good fit sometimes someone else may be a better fit. I know what I bring to the table, I know my sound and production styles and I am aware that it doesn’t suit everybody.”

Although her producing venture has been a success, she hasn’t given up on her writing, and cites that her goal “is to write great songs, be it for me or other artists.”

And, yes, she is still a singer—and an original one at that.

“I’ve been told that I have a unique sound, perhaps it’s because I use original sounds in my production, perhaps it’s because when I sing I have a Russian accent!”

As a female producer with a unique sound, it is safe to say that ILana Tarutina is one of a kind. She is also a fighter, which is why she made it in her industry.

“Anybody entering the music industry has to be resilient,” she says. “Expect lots of pit falls and disappointments and forget overnight success. To make it in every industry requires lots of determination and hard work, in music industry that is especially true since it’s 1000 times more competitive than other industries. A song can be an overnight hit, but the legwork to make that song can be years.”

Sound advice from someone who has spent her entire life in the field.

WP partying with Psy at the official MuchMusic Video Awards afterparty

Last night saw downtown Toronto again play host to the MuchMusic Video Awards and, for the first time, I had a VIP invite to one of the official after parties.

As the Canadian coordinator for MMVA co-host Psy’s dancers, as well as dancing in the show himself, my friend Ryan Scheel was invited to the official Universal Music Canada after party at Uniun nightclub.  Being Ryan’s BFF, I got to be his date for the event.  (Side note:  Ryan is attractive, single, and you can poke him on Facebook.)

When Ryan told me we’d be going to an MMVA after party the teenage boy inside of me got excited.  I remember watching the MMVA’s as a teen, imagining how amazing and lavish these parties must be; I fantasized about a room packed with celebrities, each of them able to be themselves as cameras were confiscated at the door.  This would be my chance to finally experience this from the inside.

We arrived at Uniun shortly after 12:30am and I took note of the limousines and absurdly long Lincoln Navigators parked around the block.  It seemed to be a good sign.  The bouncer at the front of the building gave us directions on how we would get into the club.  We made our way to a side door — how very VIP — and ventured inside.

At this point, I began to realize our night was not going to be what I had hoped and imagined for.

The massive nightclub was packed with people and in comparison to the blazers, bowties, and dress pants Ryan and I had worn, I spotted several basic Hanes-style white tanktops, a plethora of jeans, and even one sophisticated gentleman in track pants.

All I had wanted was to sit and watch Demi Lovato hammer back some Jager-bombs or see Avril Lavigne argue with husband Chad Kroeger over whose hair looked prettier in the nightclub light but it seemed that my night was going in a very different direction.

Disheartened, we made our way to the bar.  The booze may not have been complimentary but I certainly wasn’t going to leave without having a beer after I had schlepped my dressed-up self at midnight to a nightclub across town.

Sweating and unable to talk over the music, I made my way to the basement level of the club where the atmosphere was more laid back and the volume of people was closer to what I was expecting of a MMVA “VIP” after party.

After about ten minutes, I ran into a friend of mine, Mike Sleath, who is a drummer for various Canadian pop acts including Shawn Desman, Jesse Labelle, and Alyssa Reid.  We chatted about the MMVA’s and the fact that we were both doomed to wearing our jackets until we left the club for fear of revealing the sweaty mess underneath.  It was kind of a celebrity run in, I told myself; at least through association, anyway.

The basement level began to get busier, and I was introduced to many of the dancers from earlier in the evening.  Most of them were finalists on So You Think You Can Dance Canada, and the pretty redhead was the winner of season 4, Jordan Clark.

Okay, so they weren’t exactly big name stars, but at least I’d be able to tell people I’d met someone at the party.

A circle began to form and one by one the dancers entered into it, showcasing their incredible, toned bodies and sensual dance moves.  It was like being in a scene from the latest Step Up movie.  Part of me felt the urge to jump inside and show them what I can do — which is pretty much just gyrate off beat like I’m having a seizure – however I smartly decided against it.

Someone grabbed my arm and whispered in my ear, “That’s Psy in the white shirt.”

Sure enough, 6 feet in front of me was the man who had been viewed more than a billion times on YouTube.

I grabbed my phone out of my pocket and readied my camera in hope of something awesome happening.  And then it did.  Psy broke loose of his minder and jumped into the dance-off circle.  I began recording, in spite of his minder’s best efforts to stop anyone from capturing the moment.  By the time he tried blocking my lens, I’d already posted the 7 second clip online.  Thanks Vine.

 

Shortly after, Psy was hurried out of the club.  It made me sad; the poor guy had just finished working his butt off at the MMVA’s and wanted to blow off a little steam.  Yes, people had their camera phones out but he wasn’t doing anything inappropriate.  He was simply dancing with some of the talented people who had help make his performance such a success.  It was hardly reason enough to cut short his fun.

The dancers seemed even more energized now and the party continued.  I locked eyes with an attractive blond who mouthed “hi” at me and I realized this was Matt Marr of SYTYCD and Glee fame.  I tried several times after that to put myself in his line of sight to see if he’d flirt with me again.  He did not, which makes me think he probably thought I was someone else the first time around.  Quel dommage.

Around 2am I felt it was time to call it a night.  I had a brief text conversation with my friend Dan Sadowski, front man for The Little Black Dress, about joining him at Danny Fernandes’ MMVA after party but the cry of the street meat vendor seemed way more appealing.  Sorry Danny.

In all, it was an extremely fun night and a fantastic experience but it certainly wasn’t the evening I had dreamt about.  The thing I’ve now come to realize is that with the number of parties happening in Toronto after the MMVA’s, the chances of finding a single party filled with wall-to-wall celebrities is non-existent.  But maybe I’m wrong, and I’m happy to allow the teenage boy inside of me believe that in a secret party venue last night, a list of Hollywood starlets got together with Rob Ford and smoked, um, a ham.

 

You can follow Simon on Twitter at @ScottishGuy for all the latest updates on the sweaty messes under his blazers.

WATCH: Bedroom turned into princess paradise while roommate is away

When Tom, aka Redditor Twoverend, was overseas for two months his housemates set to work changing his normal, drab bachelor bedroom into something a little more pink.

All his buddies set to work transforming every aspect of his bedroom from what a regular guys might enjoy to something more fit for a 7-year-old princess loving girl might enjoy. Their rationale being that since he is English he loves the monarchy, and their duty was to get to work setting up a new fairy princess kingdom for him to arrive home to.

Complete with imitation crown moulding, collages of photoshopped princess photos of Tom, paintings of fairies, and pink lace as far as the eye can see it is safe to say their mission was a success.

Watch the video for Tom’s reaction upon returning from his trip at 1:30 in the morning.

Below are some photos of the transformation.

Check out Tom’s full photo album here.

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Win tickets to see Bon Jovi!

Are you living on a prayer that you’ll get to see Bon Jovi live in concert? Well, after criss-crossing the globe on his Because We Can tour he’s coming back to Toronto and Women’s Post has a pair of tickets to give way to a lucky reader. Put on your copy of What About Now, book off November 1st,  then enter our contest today.

Contest Rules & Regulations:
Contestants must reside in Canada (excluding Quebec) to be eligible to win
Contestants must be 18 or older
Contestants are eligible to enter 1x daily (further entries will not be counted)
Contest closes on Friday, June 28th, at 2 p.m.

CONTEST CLOSED

I Picked You

Last weekend Boyfriend and I got into a bit of a tiff. I had jokingly said, “Let’s talk about our relationship and the future and be all romantic and stuff.” To which he responded, “We don’t need to talk about the future. We’ll just keep having fun and petting kittens and being together.” Aside from noticing that we tend to speak like children of the internet on a regular basis, I was a little put off by the idea that he just saw the future as same old, same old and never moving forward because that is definitely not what I want our relationship to be.

Having grown up in a household where yelling was how most discussions happened I am always a little nervous to have a real discussion because I don’t like yelling and I don’t like fighting. Because of this, I avoided having a conversation about why I was upset and I just let it sit for a day. The next day Boyfriend came over and insisted that we talk because I had been acting “weird.” And he needed to know why. So after a lot of avoiding I finally told him why I was upset and his response made it all better.

When I told Boyfriend that I was upset because I was afraid he was just passing the time with me and it wouldn’t matter if I was me or any other girl he responded by saying, “Shan, I picked you. I could have been with someone else but I wanted you, I picked you.” So we’re not perfect and it isn’t easy but we picked each other and even if the future is uncertain I think it’s worth figuring it out together.

I wish I wasn’t so afraid of confrontation. I can do it at work, in interviews and on twitter but when it comes to someone I care about it’s really hard for me to say what I think when I’m upset. I’m afraid that with one wrong turn he’ll leave me because everyone who came before did. But that’s kind of how it works isn’t it? All the ones that came before were wrong because you have to wade through all the bad relationships to find the good ones.

Whatever happens in the future with Boyfriend I know that he chose to be with me and doesn’t want to be with anyone else and for now I’m happy with the plan for the future which is simply to keep being happy and having fun. Eventually we’re going to have this conversation for real and without all the interweb speak, except that there totally will be interweb speak because we’re nerds of epic proportions. At that point we’ll have to see if we’re ready to go in the same direction because a year from now I’m going to want to live together and in two years I’ll want to think about other options for our future.

For now the future is a little bit uncertain but at least I know I have someone who gets the joke when I ask husky owners if their dog’s name is moon-moon.

Follow Shannon on Twitter at @Shananigans.

Book review: The Happy Baker

4.6/5 stars

My first impression of The Happy Baker: A Dater’s Guide to Emotional Baking was that it was a very approachable book for a non-baker. Erin Bolger begins with a memorable disclaimer quote that states, “If any of my recipes are low-fat I’m sorry, it was unintentional.”

She has cute names for her baking recipes and beautiful photographs. Some recipe names include ‘Who Needs a Man on Valentine’s Day Biscotti’ and ‘You Can Kiss My Triple Decker Carrot Cake Goodbye’. The names certainly aren’t boring. Erin has separated her book into four distinct chapters. Throughout The Happy Baker, she has chick lit stories followed by a recipe that relates to the story. There are illustrations of her and her past dates or boyfriends relating to the story. The stories cover speed dating, breakups over text or e-mail, the first kiss, and many more. Erin’s personality shines through.

In order to fairly evaluate The Happy Baker, I had to get into the kitchen and bake. Her recipes are easy and most of the ingredients are found in your home (you may have to buy one or two ingredients). I decided to make ‘Erin’s Go-To Cookie’, ‘Goodbye Men, Hello Dolly Squares’ and ‘My Eggs Are Not Getting Any Younger Crème Brûlée’. Each of the recipes that I made provided me with a large quantity so the time and the effort are well worth it.

The crème brûlée was rich and creamy. The cookies and dolly squares were buttery and greasy, but delicious. They were so popular that when I opened the covered plate laying on the counter, they were all gone. I ended up eating some of the cookies and dolly squares from the freezer and they were just as good cold. Don’t hesitate to put some of Erin’s recipes in the freezer, you may be in for a pleasant surprise.

I found that the recipes were simple, easy, decadent and, of course, delicious. The Happy Baker is killer comfort food. Erin was honest and upfront when she said these recipes were unhealthy. As a non-baker myself, I was able to bake recipes that I probably wouldn’t have ever made.

This is not your average cookbook since it is filled with unique stories and recipes. She has even provided a few non-bake recipes.

If you’re ever in Bayfield, Ontario be sure to check out Erin’s new business, The Pink Flamingo Bakery and Boutique.

Toronto’s not broken just bent

Amid the scandal and smoke that swirls around city hall it is good to know there are some people and organizations in Toronto who push forward to tackle the real issues holding back our city. Credit should be given to organizations like the Toronto Transit Alliance for the work they are doing to educate and inform Toronto area residents of the need to come together and build a great city.

 

Be sure to follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Running with allergies

For some runners it may be challenging enough running in perfect conditions, let alone having to cope with allergies, which can make breathing difficult and turn a routine run into a tortuous test of will.

There is good news, however, for allergy sufferers: their condition may now be controlled and prevented if necessary steps are taken. After suffering for long enough I decided to visit my doctor to learn which medications would be most suitable. I was diagnosed with Rhinitis (Hay fever) and was prescribed Flonase (nasal spray) and told to take an antihistamine before the workout, which certainly helped to make my running experience more enjoyable.

A recent survey commissioned by Johnson & Johnson suggests up to 10 million Canadians may suffer from allergy symptoms. The survey found that more than a quarter say they’ll limit their outdoor time to prevent the onset of symptoms. Allergy season may start early in spring but can last into fall as the combination of climate change and pollen counts leads to expanded sneezing, wheezing, and gasping.

The main culprits tend to be pollen, ragweed and grass. Sometimes not knowing we have allergies can affect our work and personal lives, as well as our best intentions of getting fit and staying healthy. Often mistaken for a common cold, it is treatable if one knows the symptoms, which may include nasal congestion, itchy and watery eyes.

Speaking with Dr. Jack Taunton, who was Chief Medical Officer for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, he mentions certain regions across North America are harsher than others when it comes to allergies. “Did you know,” he asks, “that Eugene, Oregon isn’t the best place to run for people with allergies?” Dr. Taunton also includes the west coast of British Columbia as a particularly troublesome place for allergy sufferers because of vast forested areas and voluminous species of plants and grasses.

Dr. Taunton suggests various foods, such as strawberries, some vegetables, dust and pet dander, may trigger an allergic reaction, adding, “Some triathletes are even allergic to certain types of chlorine in the pool,” also showing that for some unlucky people there is no escape. He suggests seeing an allergist when symptoms become difficult to manage.

To summarize, your allergies are caused by the environment or certain foods and the best we can do is try to manage the situation.

So what can you do to enjoy your workouts more? “Try breathing more through your mouth,” says Dr. Taunton. Try running when the pollen counts are lowest (check the weather report) and wear sunglasses to prevent itchy watery eyes. Avoid running in trails or parks at the most dangerous times (for your allergies). Before your workout, take an antihistamine. Allergy shots may be the answer and I’ve heard green tea may help provide relief. If unsure, pay a visit your doctor first to find out if you do suffer from an allergy condition.