it’s that time of year again…

…The time of the year to revive your favourite pair of fall/winter boots, or for those with a little saved up this year, go out and buy a new pair!

As they did last year, Cougar teamed up with 50 bloggers to try out some of their new styles.  Last year, I reviewed a pair of red rain boots that I didn’t really love.  I never did update my post about those boots, but Cougar was nice enough to send me a different pair – Regal rain boots (which are still for sale this year!)

Cougar Rain Boots in Regal (stock photo)

I’ve been wearing them a LOT – rain boots are a HEAVEN SEND for city dwellers.  They were especially useful during those crazy spring slush/hail/rain storms in Montreal, but I’ve worn them around in Toronto as well.  The only downside to them were that they were incredibly heavyMy pace was considerably slower in those boots, and after about 5 minutes, my ankles and lower shins would hurt from having to support the weight of the heavy rubber soles.

So when Cougar contacted me again this year, I was skeptical – one pair of heavy boots is enough for me – but intrigued by their new styles.  Cougar prides themselves on creating boots that keep your feet dry and warm, but don’t compromise on style.

Portico Brown (stock photo)

This year I opted for the Portico boots in brown. [Random tidbit: Portico refers to “a structure consisting of a roof supported by columns at regular intervals, typically attached as a porch to a building.”]

They seemed like a good combo between the warmth I need during the fall and the protection I need in the winter.  They’re suitable in the rain, but not strictly rain boots.

When they arrived, I was pleasantly surprised! The construction of the boots was impressive (unlike the red boots from last year!) and I liked that despite having a similar rubber sole to the Regal rain boots, the Portico boots were much lighter weight and less of a burden on my wimpy ankles.

The outer material of the Portico model are suede for the upper body and “montana” leather (I have no clue that means) for the foot.  The stock image from the company site makes it seem like the leather foot is a much lighter shade than the suede, but in real life, that’s not the case.  They are comparable in shade – it’s simply the texture difference between suede and leather that reflects light differently, so the leather foot area may seem lighter.

1) Nearly indiscernably shade difference between the boot’s upper body and the boot’s foot. 2) Note the perfect alignment of the boot tongue – because it’s stitched in!

But the materials aren’t the only things that reassure me that these are quality made boots.  If you can see, the boots are laced up, which means that in slushy or snowy weather, moisture and precipitation can easily seep into the boot.  HOWEVER — the boot tongue is actually stitched into place in order to keep your feet dry!

However, my sister (who always complains about how her muscular legs can never squeeze into boots) did mention that because of the stitched in tongue, she wasn’t able to loosen the laces enough to allow for her leg + jeans fit comfortably into the boot.  [On the other hand, she did mention that she thought she “looked cute in them.” (her observations, not mine!)]

I have the opposite problem: boots are sometimes too loose around my calves, but the laces on the Portico model do help tighten the boots up.  [NOTE: The laces are more aesthetic than functional –  a zipper that runs from the ankle all the way to the top is the primary way to take the boots on/off.]

The only real problem I encountered with the boots are that the stiff suede material is not very forgiving when it becomes bent (i.e. at the ankle).

A pain in the (foot's) neck.

The creases created around the ankle by the simple act of walking cut into my feet, even through my socks, and I have a scab on each ankle from the abrasions.  I know that this is a common problem when breaking in new shoes, but I’ve never had this problem with my other leather boots – this was definitely a case of the stiff material not being pliable enough.

Another issue of note, is that these may keep your feet warm, but they have a tendency to overheat, almost to the point of discomfort.  I recommend carrying a pair of flats in your handbag if you are going to be in a heated building all day.

Verdict: I am definitely going to be reaching for these boots often this season.  Their neutral colour, functionality, comfort, and style make them a practical choice.  The Portico model retails for around $250 CAD and can be purchased at retailers across Canada.


my yellow fever’s flare-ing up

I don’t know how or why, but I got the December issue of FLARE magazine in the mail yesterday (I didn’t subscribe to it, obviously).

Not really in the mood to sit down and read the magazine, I just flipped through it to see what kind of editorials they had.  And then something caught my eye that made me ask myself, “Who is this gorgeous girl?”

It was precisely this photo that kind of took my breath away:

It’s not very often that you see an Asian model in mainstream magazines.  And I understand that the genetic propensity of Asians is that we are short, so I get that there are less working Asian models out there.  What makes me so impressed with this girl is that, usually, when an Asian model is featured in an editorial, she’s often exploited for her “harsh” facial features and “exotic” look (they often have bowl cuts or a very strong bang, etc.)

But this girl….wow.  She deserves this 8-page spread.

The entire editorial is her striking fierce poses in hot dresses and flying tresses.  I am just in love with her.  Her proportions are great and she isn’t dead in the face or look angry (a.k.a. trying to be fierce).

I really think she could rival some of the top models out there.

If anyone can tell me who she is, I’d love to know!  I want to see what else she’s done.

EDIT: Silly me.  In all the excitement of seeing and then immediately scanning the editorial pages, I neglected to look at the fine print, where it has all the info of everyone involved in the shoot (duh).  The model’s name is Shiya Zhao from Sutherland Models.  Check out her online portfolio here!

Here’s the rest of the editorial.  Click to enlarge!

david choi likes a sweet lemonade

Being a YouTube vlogger, I really enjoy the power of the site.  It has launched the careers of many talented people, whether they be artists, musicians, actors, comedians, dancers, etc.

One of my favourite YouTubers is David Choi, a singer/songwriter/producer based in California.  He has a huge following on YouTube, but being an unsigned artist means little to no publicity besides his own videos, Twitter, and website.  However, YouTube being the huge influence that it is, David has recently been able to successfully complete a West coast tour, and will soon be embarking on a Northeastern tour, including my hometown, Toronto (his only Canadian date)!!

David explains why you should go see his shows, with the help of some famous YouTube friends.

I’ve been pretty active in trying to get David to come to Toronto, requesting him to come through and encouraging my friends to do the same (to no avail…!)  And then, I moved to Montreal.


But, the stars aligned, and it turns out that he’ll be in Toronto during my reading week (spring break, for you Americans), during which I’ll be back in Toronto to “study”!

Anyway, with all the excitement, I tweeted about the show, and David graciously retweeted my tweet (of course, to publicize his tour, no doubt).  I then looked at the growing guestlist for the event on Facebook, and noticed how it was comprised almost entirely of Asians (no surprise there).  I just thought it was kind of funny, since the venue he’ll be playing at is so…not Asian.

I, of course, tweeted about it, and David sent this response:

Follow me! @jennynotjen


If you’re into sweet lemonade, come join me in Toronto for this rare appearance by David Choi!


Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Location: El Mocambo (464 Spadina Ave.) – Intersection: College & Spadina (The southbound streetcar from Spadina station, or westbound streetcar from College or University station will take you right there).  Look for the huge neon sign with the palm tree.

Doors: 7 PM

Tix: $12 at the door (no presale – so arrive early!)

19+ event – bring your IDs!

From my experience, the ElMo is standing room only, so I’m hoping that the amount of small Asians at the event will prove to be beneficial to me and my short stature, haha!

For more info on his tour, visit his website.

See you there!!

free health care?

a few weeks ago, i needed to go to my family doctor because some bites i had were getting really swollen. however, i had just arrived from france, and my wallet had gotten stolen in cannes. i had reported a lost health card, and the ministry was sending me a new one in the mail. for those ontarians who have never had to replace their original red and white health card probably won’t know this, but whenever you replace your health card, a 2-letter code is attached to the end of your number to indicate a new card (i suppose). truthfully, i only know this since i’ve had my wallet stolen years before. this new code just makes sure that your old card/number can’t be used by another person.

anyway, i’ve been going to this one family doctor for over 10 years now, and they are very familiar with my family. i haven’t visited their office in quite some time since i tend to just pop into my school’s health centre if i need anything. since i knew they had me on file, i just explained to the receptionist my predicament and so she looked me up and said it was fine. but then all of a sudden she says,

“your health card is invalid”.

“well of course it is, i reported it lost…they’re sending me a new one with a new code.”

“but this number doesn’t work. didn’t they give you a new number? they should have given you a form.”

“uh…i did it all over the phone” (ps. it’s the 21st century) “they said that if you need my new health card number before i get my card in the mail, you can fax in a health card number release form and that should take care of it.”

“um…what? what’s that? we don’t have that.”

at this point, i’m thinking “WHAT AN IDIOT”. what kind of receptionist doesn’t know the various forms and such involving HEALTH CARDS?! the ministry website AND their operator told me that doctor’s offices should just fax in the release form, but most don’t want to bother with the paperwork, so it should be no problem for me to get health care. i explain this to her. she replies,

“i’ve never heard of this form. if you need to see a doctor today, you have to pay $50 for your visit since you don’t have a health card.”

“i have OHIP*, i’m a canadian citizen, i’ve been your patient for over 10 years, but i still can’t get free health care simply because my card hasn’t arrived in the mail yet?”

she takes a i-can’t-be-bothered-with-you stance and simply says, “yes”.

i was so shocked at this, that i said,

“i was never told that i would have to pay for health care while i waited for a new card. i can’t believe this, i thought this was canada! this can’t be true.”

“the policy varies by the office.”

“look, dr. (my doctor’s name) knows me and my family very well, there should be no problem.”

“*sigh* i’ll ask him.”

“good, i’ll wait here.”

a while later, she leans over her desk and says, “he’ll see you.”

DAMN RIGHT he’ll see me.

i was so unimpressed with the whole situation and how the receptionist handled it, but mostly by the fact that as a full fledged tax-paying citizen, i could be demanded to pay for health care. i understand that in ontario, the amount of family doctors is quickly dwindling in ratio to the demand for them, but i had been with this doctor since i was 8 years old! and back then, i wasn’t even a citizen and i never had a problem seeing the doctor. it was even more of a shock, since coming from my program at cannes, i was surrounded by americans. they were always in awe of me being a canadian who had free health care and a good public education system. in retrospect, that experience was my first taste at what it felt like to be an american.

was it just how the receptionist handled the situation, or is it valid of me to worry about how much longer it will be until our health care system becomes privatized? hearing about how many family doctors have closed their doors to new patients a few years ago had me worrying, but not so much since i knew my family and i had good ones, but what about when i begin my own family? i fully intend to raise my children in canada, preferably in ontario, and i can only pray and hope that the government will hold out until much later to privatize health care.

i know this may seem very irrational since this is not such a huge news breaking issue these days, but i think it’s so important that we don’t take free health care for granted. it will only give you a greater shock when it is no longer, and then we’ll all end up having heart attacks and end up paying thousands in hospital bills. sigh.

i got my health card eventually. they’re way fancier now! i like this picture…i was 16 here, but i still look exactly the same!
new health card!

*OHIP = Ontario Health Insurance Plan