Apocalypse Now: Welcome to the New Age…

December 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

We Didn’t Go *BOOM*! Let’s Celebrate! 


Huzzah! Call-ooh Call-ay! Thanks to our modern ignorance & adoration for the dramatic, December 21st, 2012 was NOT the End of Days many thought it would be. The sun rose magnificently in the east & the moon is now beaming down upon us.  Those sneaky Mayans! They were referring to a New Age of Enlightenment that is about to dawn on us. I just hope we can get our collective s**t together & finally embrace unity, peace & love.

But for this delicious moment…

Get down with your bad self!






September 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Trouble is Coming…


Y’all ready for this?

By decree of King Freddie {who is Queen, technically } I am hereby elected to swoop upon Great Britain to bring merriment & mischief from the colonies!

May it be known that I shall be venturing to London for a very auspicious event; the marriage of my darling cousin. But fear not my Happy Howlers, I intend to search for the thriftiest of thrifty treasures. Be sure to look out for my self-imposed, Charity Shop Challenge.

I shall be Fearless.


Because, This is My Life


But I shan’t forget to enjoy a Sunday Afternoon…

No matter how many times I’ve been to London, I still get get lost in straight-laced mod day dreams & technicolour visons of punk mohawks. Its been 7 years & I’m so curious as to where this infamous cities pulse is beating the loudest? I promise to savor every moment & share my delectable adventure. Until my return, I bid all my Happy Howlers, a fond adieu

“The City so Nice, They Named it Twice”

September 18, 2012 § 2 Comments

“New York, you’re perfect. Don’t please don’t change a thing”


I know, trust me I know. I’m aware of what I sound like; carrying on like a gushing girl about a city I only just met. This is the last one, promise. But I couldn’t just leave things on the note of reviewing shops; this was an adventure! Come on, this is New York City we’re talking about after-all. 

Having beaten its never-ending pavement, savored it’s paletas & spending time with old friends, NYC has elegantly wormed its way into my heart. There is always something so special about places by the sea.




Other than then sheer joy of napping in Sheep Meadow, absorbing all its greenery with soothed eyes, was seeing my dear friends Sara & Dave again. I must extend my warmest gratitude to them for their generous hospitality & their refreshing company. There is nothing like being reunited with old friends in a new place to give one perspective. I love you both dearly, & I wish you all the best; take a big ole’bite outta’ that apple!


Riding on a well oiled subway system {yes, TTC I’m looking directly at you & your 2 measly lines}, I appreciated it’s design & the mind-boggling amount of people that keep it running so smoothly. Could it really have been built by just digging ditches? The true jewel in Manhattan’s iron crown is Central Park. Being only moments away from Strawberry Fields, and from where John was taken from us, the Imagine mosaic was covered with tourists, like ants to fallen ice cream. Über cheesy, it sadly took away from its impact. But upon finding the plaque devoted to peace, I did get choked up. Instead of bolstering his image as a martyr, I chose to remember John during happier times. Forgive the obvious Beatles video, but it truly rang sweetly in my mind during my time there.


~ The High Line & Greenwich~


Walking along the wonder of the High Line, I was inspired by Joshua David & Robert Hammond’s sustainable vision. It truly is a wonder, strewn with flowers, fountains and reclining chairs. This portion of the  trip was a feast not only for the eyes, but the stomach. First, I happily got my greedy hands on a paleta or Mexican popsicle. This particular paleta was made of passion fruit & I sprinkled that heavenly chilli & lime powder liberally. So refreshing!


In Greenwich the yums continued; we took Sara & Dave to a lovely vegan resto, Gobo; excellent Asian inspired cuisine. After dinner we ventured into 5 points, paying hommage to Stonewall & getting pizza for a $1. Random. And where else other than Greenwich can one find designer gowns swinging gently in the evening breeze, shining in the lamp light.


~Brooklyn & Williamsburg~

Saving the best for last, I could hardly forget to mention the spectacular borough of Brooklyn.

In the words of Alexa Chung, who said it best,

“I would say that Williamsburg is sort of my lover. Whereas {Toronto} is more like my husband. And I love my husband & I’ll always be with him, but Williamsburg is so exciting”.

Brooklyn hums with a vibration that should not be mistaken with electricity; it is far more vibrant & potent.

Bagel Robots on Bedford

I was only there for a blink of an eye, but this neck of the woods, slip on like a pair of worn in boots. Speaking of which, Chad literally stumbled upon these YSL beauties, sold to him by these beauties; on the street, literally from a bag & with smiles


This place attracts a wildness; those who are unabashed & happy to be alive. We met so many lovely people & were treated with grand hospitality by citizen & bartender alike. Special shout out to Dylan, Scott & Karen. Finding a classic way into our hearts, the food was divine. Anna Maria’s Pizza & Pasta is the pizza place. The Brooklyn accent is the real deal in this joint where you get to yell out your order & hear it echoed.

Anna Maria Pizza & Pasta

I haven’t had chicken in years, but my God, Foodswings could have fooled me. This place claims it does American classics, vegan style; they are not joking. We ate the most incredible ‘chicken’ drumsticks made from what must have been seitan. It came off the bamboo bone just like the real deal. I highly recommend the vegan Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks with the vegan ranch dip; it’s literally smothered in a delectable hot sauce. I ate so fast, sorry no pictures! But my favorite, the holy grail, was my mission to eat a fish taco. After running on empty, Rosarito’s Fish Shack was worth the slog. We arrived just in time for Happy Hour {brilliant concept, which Toronto should whole heartedly adopt!} & had the most succulent fish & shrimp tacos, replete with $1 Maine oysters {unreal!} & 2 for 1 margaritas! Every bite was a blessing on their patio.


But we got to experience a true treat! The exalted, the fierce & the fine, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings!!! She gave a free show in Williamsburg Park {which technically isn’t a park}  that got the whole crowd grooving. New Yorkers, like me, love to get down to some soulful beats; trust me, Ms Jones delivered! Most memorable quote of the trip belongs to Chad when he said, “This music makes me feel Black & Sexy”. Can I get a hell yeah!

This last memory is one of my dearest. After exiting some shop, Chad immediately rushed me to a vendors table, exclaiming this was something we had to do. An artist, possessing a vintage instant camera offered her unique services & developed the print on the spot. I was intrigued, but I hate getting my photo taken. Reigning myself in, we posed, she aimed & fired! Below is the process & the result, remarkable! It is now a most cherished token.






New York, New York, you are the belle of the ball & everyone in the free world wants a dance. You gladly oblige as you glide across the dance-floor with rhythm & charm. Your wit is a breath of fresh air, your gown is jaw dropping, but you can hold your liquor & swear like a sailor. In this grand city, there is truly something for everyone & if you haven’t been, it’s alright, just tell her I sent you.

The Howling Review: Academy Annex in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

September 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Stax of Wax & Awesome Trax


Scene: Academy Annex, Williamsburg at Sundown

After having a gorgeous meal, round the corner at Rosarito Fish Shack, I was drawn to the white hot fluorescents of this particular record shop. Determined to find the perfect gift for my kid sister, I would soon realize I walked into the right place. Without even thinking I found myself flicking away at a random stack. Not even a third of the way thru I found the latest Crystal Stilts LP. Amazing! Jasmine’s a total fan & how fab was it to find a new copy in their hometown? There was a time that this album was on constant rotation for me and having the long play was a total investment; not to mention the price being incredibly right.

Crystal Stilts

If I could dig up this gem, I knew I’d find more. Orienting myself, I started searching. Low & behold, I found the Singles Collection of another favorite. This act put on an incredible show in TO at a NXNE awhile back when I got to see them for free; it was a superb surprise as they were listed as Special Guest. But alas, every time poor Jasmine has had the chance to see Ty Segall, some unforeseeable event has thwarted her attempt. Bringing this prize back would make her day. He’s a phenom of garage rock intensity.

Ty Segall

The previous two were brand spanking new, tightly sealed under quick film to keep in their freshness. But this last find was an oldie but a goodie through & through. For $5, I found a mint condition {Read: scratch free} soundtrack LP of a beloved foreign film. Orfeu Negro or Black Orpheus, won the 1959 Canne Film Festival. This remake of the Ancient Greek legend of Orpheus & Eurydice set in contemporary Brazil was a fury of colour, sound & pathos. Upon the backdrop of Sugar Loaf Mountain, Carnival & the Favelas, the performers echo the hypnotic rhythms of Rio de Janeiro. I dare you to watch this scene below & not smile broadly or get choked up.

Black Orpheus

Academy Annex is a definite go too if you’re trawling for records in this neck of the woods. Prices for freshly pressed are totally affordable compared to that of Toronto, just sayin’. And its older records in the bargain piles are a treasure trove. Come on, I found the Black Orpheus soundtrack for God’s sake! This place has taste & sell it at the right price.

But I must mention, that throughout my time in NYC, I did not see a single cat trapsing around the neighborhoods, living their infamous double lives. Seriously, none of them walking around, sitting in windows are just soaking up the sun. I found this very odd, as cats are EVERYWHERE  in TO. The only cat I saw was in this shop. We were never formally introduced, but without further ado, the only Meow in Brooklyn…


The Howling Review: Amarcord, Williamsburg Store

September 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Fashionable European vintage clothing, couture, and accessories…


Scene: 223 Bedford St, Williamsburg Location

I heard of Amarcord via Alexa Chung from some interview thingamajiggy on youtube. Upon realization of its existence, I thought it best to check it out whilst exploring the streets of Williamsburg. I spotted it’s chic awning from Fabianne’s patio {they have delicious iced coffee’s, fyi}. I immediately fell head over heels with the  60’s a go-go graphics covering the walls in orange, green, magenta & black. This aesthetic was effortlessly repeated by Amarcord’s owner Pam, whose turquoise, pink & orange dress was out of this world! This lovely lady explained to me that all of her amazing finds were hand picked from Europe; I believe many of the pieces were from Italy.


Trying on a floor length gold & red gown with a sexy slit I felt as saucy as Sophia Loren.

But alas, the fit was too big, which was heartbreaking as Amarcord was currently have a 50% Off Sale. Bummer. Chad, on the other hand,  had luck on his side yet again. He managed to score a supple, rust coloured leather vest replete with fringe that only cost $25 {original price $50}. The fringe is so choice, it’s even on the back.

Lady Pam of Amarcord is a total class acts & being nestled in the heart of Williamsburg, her shop is absolutely worth a visit. Especially when there is a sale; who doesn’t want to feel like an Italian Countess every once in a while?



The Howling Review: Vice Versa, Williamsburg Brooklyn

September 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Vintage Garb for Man, Woman, and Beast

Vice Versa

Scene: 241 Bedford Avenue, take the ramp to the shop

Vice Versa is exactly that; instead of catering to just women, this place is a vintage haven for dudes. Rows & racks of boots, shoes, blazers, jackets & shirts line the walls of this Williamsburg native. It’s finds were as satiating as water from an oasis; finally, some cheap treats! I don’t want to mislead as they did have women’s garments as well, but there men’s selection was easier on the eyes & the wallet. Not a fan of polyester gowns with obnoxious prints, I helped Chad to scoop up a killer, leather vest; the perfect accompaniment to his recent bandana phase. We found a simple, black leather vest, with a soft back and brass buttons for a cool $10. He also snapped a sharp, mod spring jacket in an olive tone replete with ventilation to cool down my Cheddar from melting whilst on his bike. I did manage to find a cropped vest (I suspect it might have been made for a child), that had exquisite embroidery. Silken yellow & white thread looping gingerly around mirrors. The craftsman is simply divine and definitely Northern Indian or Pakistani for $15.

Vice Versa is a must see go too for the Happy Howler on a budget.



The Howling Review: The Brooklyn Flea at Fort Greene

September 6, 2012 § 3 Comments

There Ain’t No Flies On Us, Baby…


Scene: 176 Lafayette Ave, just across the street from the Mason’s lodge, aka Fort Greene

Sprawling over what seems to be a running track, hoards of incredible finds await in anticipation to be discovered. I have arrived at the Brooklyn Flea & suddenly, I’m a little kid. A goat actually, grazing & wandering, attracted to every floating garment & all the shiny pieces.

The Brooklyn flea was a revelation, filled with taxidermy, purses & kimonos. Sara (with whom I grew up with & whose place I crashed whilst in NYC) actually found a full standing gym locker! Wild. Amongst the crocodile mouths, wishbone necklaces and luggage that resembled tupperware Mum had, the Flea had something for everyone. But it came at a cost. I made goggly eyes at all exquisite frocks, and ended up doing epic eye-rolls over the prices.

Sipping on a cucumber mint lemonade made by my South Indian Brothers & Sisters, I galavanted through the entire market looking for that steal. Bargains, come out come out where ever you are! After ohhing & ahhing, I managed to hawk a gorgeous 100% brocade silk shirt in a burnt sienna for only $10 yankee dollars! But alas, that was my only true steal. Chad on the other hand managed to score the ultimate find; a genuine, mint condition Super 8 camera for $30 bucks! It whirred beautifully and came in a hard case with ND filter attachment & the original instructions. The man selling it had other exceptional specimens, such as medium formats & vintage magnesium flashes. He was a retired high school teacher, when upon inquiring where we were from & literally said, “Toranna’s a hell of place!” 

Amen to that, brother.


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