Our Obsessions: Disposable Cameras

Our Obsessions: Disposable Cameras

Because like every other basic girl I think I’m ~quirky~ when I post disposable photos on Instagram.

Disclaimer: I can’t take credit for any of these photos because my insanely talented friend Qi Di Zheng took all of these (on the off chance that anybody actually reads these, check out her insta @qidizheng)

It’s no secret that disposable photos have come back into trend. Within the past two years, I’ve seen every VSCO girl switch from the C1 filter (don’t lie I know you used this at one point or another) to filters that give a vintage/ disposable look to them. Lucky for you, I interviewed the queen of the disposable, Qi Di Zheng, on everything under the sun related to disposable cameras.

What was the first disposable camera that you started using?

The first disposable I ever used was made by Fuji– a classic. I got a two-pack from Amazon the week before Gov Ball in 2017. I didn’t finish it until the very end of senior year, and I never got it developed. It’s still sitting in my room collecting dust. I believe the other one from the two pack was used for my freshman year at college and it really made me fall in love with vintage film.

What is the difference between a film camera and a disposable camera?

A disposable camera is essentially a film camera. A film camera is any camera that requires films rather than an SD cord, like most modern digital cameras. A disposable is a single-use film camera.

What made you want to switch to the film camera?

I switched from disposable cameras to a film camera because it was more cost efficient to invest in a single camera and constantly buy film than to constantly buy single use cameras. Also, disposables aren’t great for the environment.

Do you have any advice to ensure that your film/disposable photos don’t come out overexposed/ underexposed?

I personally think it’s always better to have it overexposed as opposed to underexposed. I usually set my camera to a standard 4.0 aperture and a 1/250 shutter speed since most of the pictures I take on an old fashion film camera are usually in the day time with adequate lighting. I like to carry around a more digitized film camera at night because it is more portable and there’s a flash built in. I personally love taking pictures with flash– it really adds to the “old-timey” look.

What do you use as inspiration for your photos?

Inspiration wise, I think I developed a certain taste in photos from my pre- teen years as an avid Tumblr user. I’ve noticed that I have very specific preferences in aesthetics and subject matter. I also follow film accounts on Instagram and I occasionally go on VSCO– whenever I remember that I have the app– to check out some cool pictures. I also think people forget– me included– that VSCO was originally used as a place to share professional photography. I also get inspiration from my friends. I really love taking pictures of them because I see these pictures as a time capsule that I can’t wait to look back on.

Do you have any advice for those looking to get into taking more film photos?

I think any advice I would give is to start off with disposables, it is less complicated and very easy to use. To this day, some of my favorite pictures are taken on disposables. I feel like the best film pictures are the ones that aren’t as posed and taken very nonchalantly.

Pro Tip: If you don’t want to spend money on disposable cameras and getting the photos developed, check out David Dobrik’s app David’s Disposable for a free alternative.

We Manifested Our Way Back Into America

We Manifested Our Way Back Into America

Conspiracy theory: Our makeshift vision boards caused the US government to change its mind, not universities pursuing lawsuits.

Growing up watching The Secret on repeat, the power of manifestation was undoubtedly ingrained into our heads. Our mothers would continuously emphasize the importance of goal setting and visualizing what you want in order to get it. (Shoutout Abhi for making me sit at the dining room table before the first day of school every year to manifest what I wanted for that year. Yes, I also thought that it was a load of bull).

Over the past five years, manifesting has been used by everyone from celebrities to business moguls to everyday people like us. So when the US government and SEVP modified temporary exemptions for non-immigrant students taking online courses for the fall 2020 semester (Translation: if we try to go back to the US for the fall semester, we’ll be deported), we were distressed, to say the least. In an attempt to be able to come back, Natalie even picked up a 2-credit in-person university choir class with the philosophy that people have gone through worse things to be able to go to America. You can take the girl out of the choir, but you can’t take the choir out of the girl, I guess.

Using our mothers’ philosophies, we decided that the only way we could get back into America this fall would be to make vision boards. Completely illogical conclusion, but we did it anyway. Purchasing magazines at our local Superstore, we cut out every image that reminded us of America. We then glued them onto glittery pink boards, creating the most patriotic collage known to man.

Mira’s vision board

Natalie’s vision board

Days later, at our wilderness retreat, we were pleased to find out that the US government had redacted this legislation. Therefore, as of right now, we’ll  be able to go back to the US in the fall. Unfortunately, you St. Catharines natives will now have to wait until Christmas to see us again.

However, the real question is: was it our shoddy vision boards that lead to this sudden change? We may never know, but we recommend that you try out this technique for yourself at home! In the meantime, keep an eye out for our next vision boarding session when we will manifest the end of the coronavirus pandemic.

Unpopular Opinion: Clifton Hill Is My Personal Hell

Unpopular Opinion: Clifton Hill Is My Personal Hell

Written by one of the most passionate people on this subject, our friend, Tofa Oloketuyi, who trembles in fear at the mere mention of the phrase “Clifton Hill.”

Like any other Southern Ontario native, I visit the Niagara region a couple of times a year to see my friends. As we drive down the same stretch of road for an hour, we always ask, “What should we do next?”. If you didn’t know any better, you’d probably suggest visiting the Falls.

I am not one to have strong negative views about things or places favoured by most, but for a natural wonder, Niagara Falls blows. The waterfall itself is beautiful and all, but my vendetta is against Clifton Hill, located adjacent to the waterfall. Clifton Hill is a strip similar to that of Las Vegas but is perfectly catered to 10-year-olds. Imagine a swarm of neon-lit street signs housing the cheesiest attractions, including mini-golf, wax museums, and outdated haunted houses. I can’t think of anything more terrifying.

There is something so irritating about walking down Clifton Hill that I’m not sure I can adequately convey how it feels with words alone. However, I do have many questions. The first being: why? Whose idea was it to create a corny strip in the heart of the Niagara gorge, and why does it work? They clearly knew what they were doing because, for some reason, it is always packed. Even in the middle of a global pandemic, people are risking their lives and the lives of their loved ones to walk down that street. I will never understand this. Pandemic or not, I have consistently shut down any plan to hang around that godforsaken place.

I understand the limited options for entertainment in Niagara, but if you are not accompanying children aged 4-12, why are you there? Additionally, I will always secretly judge couples walking down Clifton Hill hand in hand. I will admit to being a little stuck up, but I could not think of a more unromantic getaway.

If you’re thinking about visiting the Niagara Region with your significant other, I would recommend Niagara On the Lake. Much like the Falls, it gets old after a while, but at least there aren’t screaming children surrounding you.

Please enjoy the following picture we photoshopped of Tofa having a blast in Niagara Falls.

The Essentials For Every Girls Weekend

The Essentials For Every Girls Weekend

Yes, I did in fact go to a ski resort in the middle of July.

This past weekend, I packed up the five outfits that aren’t stuck in my dorm room at school (definitely not mad about it) and drove up north to Collingwood with four of my friends from high school. Before I start, if you are not from my hometown you’re probably wondering where on earth Collingwood is, and to be quite honest, I genuinely have no idea either. Still, I always hear people saying they are heading up north, so for this blog post, I have decided to also sound like a pretentious prick and say that I went “up north for the weekend.” In other words, if Collingwood is not up north please don’t come for me. I have no geographical awareness for any place that is past Toronto and am clearly just trying to flex on my peers.

Now would also be an excellent time to share the crucial information that Collingwood is in fact, a ski resort. Why did I pay money to go to a ski resort in the middle of the summer? Good question. But honestly, I’ll do anything to get me out of Niagara for the weekend.

I have only ever been to Collingwood once before on a family ski trip when I was younger and the only thing that I remember about it was the Beaver Tails (if you don’t know what a Beaver Tail is you are clearly not Canadian, so ignore this part). However, heading here in the middle of July, I honestly did not know what to expect from what is often referred to as “a Winter Wonderland” on Trip Advisor. Here are some tips and tricks to make every “girls weekend” a success no matter what gets thrown at you or where you are going.

  1. Make Jungle Juice

In other words, get drunk. For those of you who don’t know what Jungle Juice is, it’s basically just large quantities of hard alcohol mixed with fruit juice. There is no exact recipe for Jungle Juice, which is part of the fun of making it! Some of my favorite things to add to it include pink lemonade Svedka (yes, I only enjoy insanely flavored types of hard alcohol), Frozen Palm Bay, Lime White Claw, and a ton of Fruitopia concentrate. I promise you, this stuff goes down easier than water.

Pro tip: add slices of fruit, and gummies for extra sweetness

2. Have a “themed” dinner night

We decided that our theme for Saturday night’s dinner would be An Evening in Mexico, and you can bet that we went all out. We started in the kitchen, making chicken tacos and nachos. I recommend choosing something easy to prepare like this because you don’t want to spend your whole vacation cooking. We paired this with frozen margs (essentially Jose Cuervo’s Margarita Tequila, Minute Made Frozen Limeade, and ice blended.) Just make sure that when you’re ready to mix everything in the blender, the lid is on (can’t say that we were lucky enough to remember this.) Finally, enjoy! We played some authentic music (by authentic I am referring to the fact that I played Señorita by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello on repeat) and got dressed up.

3. Go with people that you enjoy spending time with

While this is probably the most obvious thing, I cannot stress how important this is. If you don’t enjoy the people that you are going with, you are essentially setting yourself and your trip up for failure. Save the drama and keep your guest list to your friends that you know you can have a good time with.

Picking Cherries in 40º Heat

Picking Cherries in 40º Heat

Truly a first-world problem.

This past Thursday afternoon, my mom and I decided to go cherry picking at 20 Valley Harvest Farms (https://20valleyharvest.com/) to get out of the house, and avoid paying ridiculous grocery store prices for cherries. The latter is a popular topic of discussion in my household.

Upon learning that they had just opened up their farm to the public the day before, we got up as early as possible to ensure there were lots of cherries left to pick. It just so happened that we decided to go on the hottest day of the year.

While profusely sweating as I tried to fill up our seven-litre basket, I realized that I have no agricultural skills whatsoever. I struggled to pick the stems off of the tree branches, resulting in many stemless cherries in our basket. So not only did we end up with a ridiculously large amount of cherries, but I was humbled throughout this experience, which is always great. Finally, after around twenty minutes of picking and slowly roasting in the sun, we filled up our basket.

This experience wasn’t my first time picking fruit, however. Last September in California, I went apple picking at one of the most insanely overpriced farms I’ve ever seen. Seriously, I think I paid $30 USD for a bag of apples. Not even going to try and look that up what that’s worth in CAD. However, fruit picking is such a fun activity and is an excellent option if you want to get out of the house during quarantine. Just make sure you research different farms ahead of time- especially during these times because there may be a specific protocol you have to follow, or they might only accept cash payment.

If fresh fruit isn’t your thing, one of the selling points of fruit picking is that it makes for some top tier Instagram content. The scenery is gorgeous, and people are so spread out that you can take amazing photos without strangers watching and silently judging you— definitely a bonus.

There are so many different types of fruit you can pick on your own in practically any season. For the Niagara region specifically, take a look at the graphic below, and you can begin planning your fruit-picking adventure!

Songs You Forgot Existed

Songs You Forgot Existed

I’ll say it louder for the people in the back: Listening to Kiss Me Thru the Phone by Soulja Boy doesn’t make you edgy. Literally everyone and their mother knows that song.

I know what you’re thinking. Did I make a brand new Spotify account for the sole purpose of creating a playlist to upload to this blog? Yes, I did. For a good reason.

I made my personal Spotify account when I had a minor obsession with the band 5 Seconds of Summer. I happened to be staying in the same city as the band members and thought that if I created a cool and edgy Spotify username and changed my Instagram handle to match it, they would notice me and I would get to meet them. Clearly, this never happened nor would it ever happen to anyone. Nonetheless, in an attempt to spare what little dignity I have, I created a new Spotify account for this blog to save me from eternal embarrassment from my old usernames.

After creating this new account, I decided to create a playlist of throwbacks. This playlist is filled with songs that are all bangers in their own way- some that are more sombre and others that will definitely hype you up. These aren’t your typical throwbacks, however. Whether from the 90s or 2010, each of these songs indefinitely slaps and is certainly under-appreciated in society today.

Before you listen, I’ll highlight some of the most meaningful throwbacks to me and some of the memories that go along with them.

Whatever You Like- T.I.

This song is the ultimate throwback. Coincidentally, it was also my most played song last year in 2019, with a whopping total of 92 plays. While this alarmed me at first, I now understand why I listened to it so much. I don’t think I can ever get sick of it. Truly. I think this warrants an intervention?

With You- Chris Brown

As I was moving out of my dorm after finishing my first year of university, I listened to the same six songs on repeat for days- With You and five other Akon songs. Not sure why this was such a phase, but it was. This song just reminds me of packing boxes and being one of the last two people left in my dorm. Honestly, this song really gets you in your feels.

I Don’t Mind- Usher ft. Juicy J

After seeing the Hustlers movie last year, I realized that I had been sleeping on Usher for so long. This man has given us banger after banger for decades. At one point, I literally hated this song but it goes hard and has a great message. Secure the bag in whatever way you can.

Mrs. Right- Mindless Behavior

I can’t be the only one who remembers seeing this probably a thousand times on the Family Channel (Disney Channel for you Americans). Not only does this song slap, but watching the music video back, I can see that they literally all dance so well. I’m impressed. One Direction WHO?

Eenie Meenie- Justin Bieber and Sean Kingston

In a time before Apple Music, back when each song on iTunes cost $1.29, my nine-year-old self decided to ball-out and spend my parent’s hard-earned money on this Justin Bieber classic. Let me say, there are no regrets there. This song screams 2010 pop with its simple melody sung by Justin Bieber’s high-pitched voice, and the music video is almost as good as the song, as well. The message is clear and relatable even to audiences today- sometimes shawty really do be an eenie meenie miney mo lover.

Gives You Hell- The All-American Rejects

Not sure how I became familiar with this song, but all I can remember is my childhood best friend and I screaming this at the top of our lungs at the ripe age of ten. Not even in the backyard. In my front yard. We would dress up and blast this song in the front yard of my house where my neighbours and all our peers could see us. It’s a damn good song though.

My Best Friend’s Girl- Diego Gomes

If you’re not familiar with the Canadian reality TV show The Next Star, you missed out on some quality television. Basically, a bunch of Canadian kids sing and compete to become the next music icon, so to speak. The top six contestants get makeovers, work with professionals to write and record their own songs, and create music videos. This song by the winner of season three of the show, Diego (a Justin Bieber knock-off), has a questionable message but is one of the catchiest songs I’ve ever heard. I recommend you listen to the entire season three album because Insane (Thru with U) by Mimoza goes kind of hard, as well.

DIY “Guess Who?” featuring Everyone we went to High-School with: A Drinking Game

DIY “Guess Who?” featuring Everyone we went to High-School with: A Drinking Game

Because there’s literally nothing better to do quarantine than to relive your so-called glory days.

All the materials you’ll need

As we approach our second anniversary of graduating high-school, we can’t help but reflect on how different our lives are now. While we definitely would not want to go back, it can be fun to discuss our many shared memories. Normal people would reflect on their high-school experience by watching their grad video or looking at old photos. Instead, we decided to spend the afternoon printing out tiny pictures of our classmates and gluing them onto a DIY cardboard version of a childhood game.

Personalized “Guess-Who?” games are flooding the internet right now. While most people are using their photos to replace the actual photos on the game, neither of us has this game, nor do we want to invest in it. So, we decided to make a cheap tacky version that has no structural integrity whatsoever- super on-brand for us. We also wanted to share this process with you so you can recreate your version at home.

The actual game- just a heads up, our version looks like a kindergarten craft project in comparison

Materials we used:

  • A clothing gift box, or any two sheets of cardboard you might have
  • 30 blank flashcards
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • A pen
  • Pictures of 30 of the people you went to high school with (not creepy at all)

To start, you’re going to want to find pictures of roughly thirty of your high school peers. With these pictures, you will need to create a document with one large version of the image to put on a card and two small versions to put on the actual game. After you print these sheets out, cut out all of the pictures.

Next, cut your gift box in half and reinforce the sides using glue.

For the smaller pictures, you’re going to use on the boards, cut your flashcards into four different strips. Bend each strip in half and glue each person’s photo onto a separate strip. Glue the base of each of these strips onto the cardboard to create two game boards- one for each player.

Finally, to make the larger cards, cut your flashcards into thirds and glue on each large picture. Make sure you write the person’s name as well just in case the picture isn’t enough to identify them. It’s been a couple of years. People forget things.

The instructions are pretty self-explanatory- look at the pictures below, and we’re sure you’ll figure it out.

The big cards

Our DIY cheapskate version of the game

After tediously assembling your two game boards, you can start to play. If you don’t know the rules, here’s a PDF of the actual “Guess Who?” instructions. But if you need to look at these, you were genuinely robbed of your childhood: https://winning-moves.com/images/guesswho%20rules.pdf

However, playing this won’t be too nostalgic, because the most exciting part of our version is the types of questions you can ask. The whole point of our version is to not use basic questions like “Does this person have glasses?” or “Is this person a girl?” like you would in a real “Guess Who?” game. Essentially, the more controversial the question, the better.

Our game was literally made with a Mexx Kids giftbox, you should’ve seen it coming.

Here’s a few examples of questions you could ask:

  • Did you ever speak to this person in high school?
  • Has this person ever blocked you on any social media platform?
  • Would you say “Hi” to this person if you saw them today?
  • Did this person unfollow you on Instagram after graduation?
  • Did you ever have beef with this person?
  • Do you still have active beef with this person?

These are pretty general, but as you narrow down who your opponent has, feel free to get exponentially more specific.

Finally, the last set of rules arguably concern the most important part of the game: drinking.

  • If your opponent says “No” to any of your questions, you have to drink
  • If your opponent says “Yes” to any of your questions, they have to drink
  • If you guess the person’s name incorrectly, you have to take 3 drinks
  • The player that loses has to finish their drink

Was this a huge waste of time? Maybe. But at least it was fun. We guarantee if you create this game, make a quick stop at the LCBO, and gather up some of your high-school friends, you’re set for a very interesting evening. You’re welcome in advance.

Vineyard Picnics For Dummies

Vineyard Picnics For Dummies

Bored of sitting in a parking lot with your friends? Try this instead!

Living in a small town, there is a VERY limited number of things to do (some of my personal favorites include neighborhood drive-by’s and prostitute hunting). However, the pandemic has temporarily put my enjoyment of these activities on hold, forcing me to get creative on how I should spend time with the five people from high school that don’t hate me (kidding, but like not really). This is how I came to discover my love of picnics.

If you are anything like me and are not trying to pay $12 for an Aperol Spritz on the Johnny Rocco’s patio, then this is the perfect alternative for you. It’s cheap, fun, and abides by social distancing guidelines (we LOVE a public health queen!)

What you’ll need:

  • A blanket
  • Your favorite snacks (I enjoy bringing Stacy’s pita chips, guac, grapes and cheese)
  • An alcoholic beverage of your choice
  • A speaker
  • BOTTLE OPENER (I cannot stress enough how hard it is to try and open a bottle of wine with a fork)

Disclaimer: I do in fact realize how cringe it is that I am drinking Girls Night Out, but you’re lying to yourself if you don’t think it tastes good

To start, you are going to want to find an open field. If you are from the Niagara Region I would recommend checking out Ravine or Two Sisters’ Winery. Once you’ve found a spot that you are happy with, you are going to want to set up your blanket and pull out your food. While it is tempting to set up your cheese, crackers, and fruit in an attempt to make an Instagram-worthy charcuterie board, I advise against doing that unless you are trying to get attacked by ants and mosquitos. Instead, keep all food in its original packaging or wrapper and use a knife to cut small pieces at a time.

PRO TIP: plan ahead and set your picnic up for around 8pm for the added bonus of watching the sunset (just don’t be that person who puts the sunset on their snapchat story because I promise you nobody cares)

You are now officially all set! Happy picnicking, and you can thank us later for all of the money that you have saved on watered down drinks from the patios this summer 🙂