Trying to find my way back home

Hey gang, it’s me.

I’m back from my week in Hamilton spent with my freshly-imported boyfriend, who has returned home from a year abroad in Switzerland.

It seems that many people disregard Hamilton as a dirty, sketchy, blue-collared steel worker standing in the shadow of The Great Toronto. Perhaps this is because their exposure has been limited to chemically polluted bays and desolate grey smokestacks tipped with flames as they speed across the bridge to Niagara Falls (and the so-called mecca of Across The Border Shopping)

But to us, Hamilton is our home.

Adam Torres is a gifted songwriter from Austin, Texas. His self-titled album is currently a free download on DZ Tapes. This is an album to tell your kids about. It begs you to make memories, make love, break bread, break down, find meaning, find yourself. 

There are plenty of hidden gems to be found in Hamilton, and I’d like to share some of them with you. I have three favourite neighbourhoods – Westdale, Locke St., and James St. North. Whenever I visit the city, I visit as many of these places as possible. They have retained the essence of free-spirited DIY, small-batch, homemade, artisanal culture that has been paved over by condos in Toronto.


White Elephant is owned by two lovely girls who have delightful taste in heirloom Canadiana, vintage women’s clothes, and one-of-a-kind jewellery.

Parker got the world’s most adorable bow tie for factor[e] Design‘s upcoming charity event for literacy.

I got the cutest soft leather clutch in a dark brick red.


Parker’s bowtie, which I taught him how to tie


Re-imagined vintage furniture, local prints, paintings, and pretty little clothes that would make Zooey Deschanel swoon.

I got a lovely lamp painted with a floral bouquet and a jean romper from the Spring/Summer 2011 collection from Allison Wonderland.

NEEDLEWORK, James St. North

From two of the ladies behind the Beehive Craft Collective. Grade 9 Home Economics has really come full circle, and now it’s cool to learn to sew.

I’m hoping that this trip has jump started my creative side again. Parker and I spent a little time improvising pieces on the violin and piano, which felt so much like Win and Regine of Arcade Fire that I could puke. Hopefully, I can dig into the backlog of kind reader emails and feature more incredibly talented musicians like Adam Torres. If you enjoyed his album above, I encourage you to check out more artists featured by DZ Tapes. If there’s one person in the Internet music industry who’s doing it right, it’s Brett Isaacoff.