Turn, Turn, Turn

Turn, Turn, Turn | Sophster-Toaster Blog

Maybe it’s because I just turned 30, but I’ve been making a lot of changes lately. As the year, my age and the season have changed, I’ve been working hard to improve myself, my work and my art. I’ve made goals to be a better friend to the people I love, to distance myself from people whose choices and behaviours upset me, and to say yes to anything that could help me grow personally or professionally, even if it scares me. We’ve settled into the puppy routine and are slowing transitioning into a dog routine that’s taken a lot of hard work and sacrifice but has improved out lives in so many ways. I’ve committed to only spending my money on things I absolutely love and my personal style has become bolder, more deliberate and more expressive as a result.

I’ve been thinking about making another big change more and more over the past few weeks. I’ve been wanting to dye my hair a fun colour for a few years but have been to afraid to make such a drastic change to my physical appearance. I dyed it occasionally in high school and tried a lot of different colours, ranging from could-be natural to obviously fake, but stuck close to my natural colour and never really worried about finding it again in the end. I’ve been looking at some brightly coloured rainbow shades of semi-permanent hair dye recently, and although they sound reassuring and unintimidating, promising to fade out gracefully, there’s no way they are going to show up on my natural hair colour. I’m going to have to go light first.

Turn, Turn, Turn | Sophster-Toaster Blog Turn, Turn, Turn | Sophster-Toaster Blog

I take very good care of my hair, washing it only twice/week and avoiding heat styling, so I’m not too worried about the damage going light is going to cause; I’m mostly afraid I’m going to miss the old me. My hair is almost exactly the same colour now as it was when I had my first hair cut (I know because my mom kept a lock of it for my baby book) and I’ve always loved it. I love being a fearless brunette in a sea of women who seem to think blond is better. It almost feels like I’ll be betraying myself if I go blond, or ginger, or pink, or peach, but this is one of those things that scares me, one of those things I’m being trying to say yes to.

I want my hair to be in the best health possible when I start, so I’m waiting until after my appointment for the spring chop in a few weeks. I know I’m being bad by dying my hair at home, but I always loved the creative control and ritual of doing it that way. I’m thinking I’m going to be brave and aim for a dark strawberry blond to start. Then after a couple of weeks of shocking friends with that – and once my hair has recovered a bit – I’m going to try Lime Crime’s Unicorn Hair in Strawberry Jam. I’m looking forward to trying a few of their magical colours and maybe hitting a natural ginger orange/red before going back to brunette. Let’s see if i’m brave enough to say good bye to my beloved chestnut and hello to dreamy new tones.

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Dress ModCloth
Sweater ModCloth
Socks Roots
Hair Pin gift
Earrings street market in Panama
Ring old

All photos be me.

Goodbye Summer

Goodbye Summer | Sophster-Toaster Blog

It’s been a strange summer for me. The weather has been very hot and humid with many violent thunderstorms yet very little rain after about a decade of cooler, wetter summers. We bought our first house at the very end of May and had to wait until today(!) for closing so we’ve been counting the days while trying to enjoy summer and not wish away. At the same time, we’ve been mourning the loss of our incredible and much beloved cat, Tori, who passed away in early June at an estimated age of 16. All these things together have made for quite an unusual summer. I’m not sure if it is destined to become a memorable moment of my youth or get swallowed up by my grief.

Goodbye Summer | Sophster-Toaster Blog

It’s been a summer of firsts, a summer of change and a summer of learning. My husband and I bought our first home together just after our fifth wedding anniversary. I did my first summer market. I changed my business priorities and focus a little bit. I learned how to talk to important adults as an adult. I learned how to make shorts. I’m learning how to say goodbye to someone who meant a lot to me.

Goodbye Summer | Sophster-Toaster Blog

Shirt Sophster-Toaster
Shorts Homemade
Shoes Keds
Earrings Craft Arts Market/ Nicole Gagnon
Bracelet Panama Market Vendor

Goodbye Summer | Sophster-Toaster Blog Goodbye Summer | Sophster-Toaster Blog

We’re getting ready to move this Saturday and it feels like I’m saying goodbye to a lot of things. Goodbye to apartment living (woo!) and all its benefits and inconveniences. Goodbye to that notion that I’m not tied down to any place and can make a home anywhere in the world at any time. Goodbye to an apartment filled with memories. Goodbye to all that money I used to have. Goodbye to a pet I rescued on my 16th birthday and who was with me, by my side and in my lap, through so many life changes. Goodbye to summer.

Goodbye Summer | Sophster-Toaster Blog

Help me out and grab a t-shirt so I don’t have to move it!

Get $5 off any tee in the shop (excluding seconds, which are already only $5, by the way) with coupon code TEETIME5. Expires on moving day (8/27)!

Want a pair of my shorts in your size?

Grab a Mystery Item from the shop for one of my learning experiments! Warning, these pairs aren’t for regular sale because I’m not super satisfied with the fit. They run a little large in the waist and small in the thigh, if that sounds like you, or the way you like your clothes to fit, go grab one now for less than wholesale!

All photos by me.

“And I Wish I Was at Home in Dear Old Dublin”

I’m doing the dishes, passively gazing out the window at the dusty driveway and the heavy clouds ready to rupture with the April rain, and quietly singing a song I don’t quite know, “Paddy’s Lamentation”. But this story doesn’t start here. It starts a few weeks ago, when I reached my 24th birthday. While I was musing over martinis with the couple of friends I cornered at my birthday party as I entered the stage of inebriation that my husband comically refers to as ‘Professor Hanna’, I discovered that I had reached a milestone. As I elucidated at the party – less eloquently then, than I am remembering now, I’m sure – “now that I am 24, if I get pregnant, everyone will assume it was intentional.” The combination of this revelation, this comic and Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women got me thinking about the perceptions of life, love and pregnancy in my own small hometown. Continue reading

Taking His Name

For a List of all the places you need to inform of your name change see Taking His Name II.

There are many choices when it comes to how your name will appear after you are married. You can take your husband’s name, keep your name, hyphenate both names, blend your names or take his name while keeping yours as a middle name. You can also choose to either legally change your name to your husband’s or only assume his name. The difference is described on the Government of Ontario website, “You do not have to get a legal name change to use your partner’s name as your last name. Instead, you can assume your partner’s name. Assuming a name is not a legal name change, so it does not change your birth certificate. Most people assume a name instead of undergoing a legal name change.”

Traditionally, a woman changes her maiden name to her husband’s surname when they marry to signify a change in family, moving from her father’s name and family unit to her husband’s name and their new family unit. Although it is not the only option or practice, this is still the norm in countries that are, or once were, part of the English commonwealth.

In our culture, a woman may choose to keep her maiden name after she marries. Some of the many reasons she may want to do this include, feminist / equality ideals and concerns, not wanting to lose her identity, having made great successes before marriage and not wanting to change her well-known name (actresses, writers, politicians, businesswomen, etc.) or avoiding an awkward or embarrassing name combination. Although this option is commonly accepted, it can cause confusion when people assume that you are not married to your husband because you do not share a last name. It can also raise concerns with friends and family who are trying to fit you in to their etiquette rules, for example, not knowing how to address a wedding invitation to you and your husband.

The First Feminists


Hyphenating or joining your maiden name with your husband’s surname was first popularized by suffragettes. Women today choose this option when they feel uncomfortable forsaking their families and former selves but also want to honour their husband and new selves. This choice comes with many other choices, such as, whether your husband will hyphenate his name too, an option gaining popularity, and which name your children will go by. Some women are also choosing to join their maiden name with their husband’s name without the hyphen, though there have been recent reports of this causing confusion at important times, like when you are trying to board an airplane or explain your odd passport.

Some couples want to respect both families but don’t want to be saddled with two last names; these people choose to blend their surname. In this case it is very common for both spouses to adopt the new name. I used to joke that my maiden name, Hanna, would make it difficult for me to sign my new last name, Harrison, when I was married because they both start out the same way, and to solve this problem we should both become “Hannison”. Though it was a joke in my situation, it is a serious option for many other couples.

The final common option is for a woman to take her husband’s last name as her own and take her maiden name as a second middle name or use it to replace her current single middle name. In some cultures, this practice is so common that women are not given middle names at birth with the expectation that they will take their maiden name as a middle name when they are married. This option is different from name joining, without the hyphen, in that the woman is referred to as ‘first name, married name’ and not ‘first name, maiden name, married name’, as she would be if she had joined the names. This is the option I chose and it works for me because I was given only one middle name at birth, my husband has two middle names and my maiden name, Hanna, just so happens to be a fairly common first name. I chose to take my maiden name as my second middle name because I wanted to take, and be referred to by, my husband’s name but I didn’t want to lose a part of myself.

Ontario Marriage Certificate Sample

Now, all of this name-changing doesn’t just happen because you say so – or because you change your name on Facebook – you have to take certain legal steps to formally change your name. In Ontario, there are two options: legally changing your name or assuming your husband’s name. Assuming is defiantly easier, and, consequently, is becoming the more popular choice, but it is still considered a formal name change. You will need to inform all affected that you have changed your name, including the government, your bank, your utilities and so on. Assuming your married name originated as a French tradition; in France, women will use their maiden names in the legal, financial and professional world but will use their married names socially, cleverly dancing around the etiquette enigma. If you decide to change your name when you are married and if you want to assume or legally change for free, you will need your marriage certificate to do so. This creates a problem for women in common-law relationships who don’t want to be legally married to their spouse but do want to change their name to reflect the depth of their commitment; these woman do not have a marriage licence and therefore can not assume their partner’s name, their only option is to legally change their name, for a fee.

I have chosen to assume my husband’s name over legally changing my name. The main reason why I chose to do this is because I felt a little weird about having my name legally changed on my birth certificate, I was born with my father’s name, not my husband’s. I always found it a little odd that my mother, whose name was legally changed to my father’s, had his name on her birth certificate.