10 Things I Read, Thought About or Noticed this Week

01 :: My Summer Anthem

02 :: Kitten My Yoga On

If you’re into yoga and helping kids, then please join or donate to my yogathon team! We’re raising funds for Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland all while “kitten” our yoga on! It’s September 9 at David Lam Park!

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03 :: Ellen Degeneres is so Amazing

This woman makes me cry happy tears, every freaking time.

04 :: 24-Hour Movie Marathon—Can We Have in Winter?

I would love to do an all-day movie marathon, but not when the sun is shining. If you’re a vampire you should go!

05 :: Bloodline + House of Cards + (soon) Game of Thrones = All New Seasons

Again, why in the summer?! But I’m srsly stoked.

06 :: Fuck Trump

07 :: NDP + BC Greens = Government?

Hearing that the BC Greens will support a minority government led by the NDP makes me happy. But what’s next? BC Liberals say it’s their “responsibility” to form a minority government. That Christy.

08 :: Depression is a Real Thing

It’s good to hear that more and more adults don’t feel ashamed of their mental illness and are seeking support. As someone who has struggled with depression all my life, I can say that getting a physician’s consult has made a world of difference. There’s a basic foundation of wellbeing that’s missing when you have depression, and until it’s addressed, it’s hard to make sense of the doldrum. Good things happen, but you can’t help but feel malaise. Finding support that works feels like a veil has been lifted.

09 :: Stealthing is a Real Thing

If you don’t know this already, please be aware that consent means both parties have agreed to all aspects of the sexual activity…including whether or not you use a condom.

10 :: Cativersary

My cat and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary last month. Isn’t she cute?

26 Easy Ways to Help the Environment

My Little Sister (in the Big Sisters Study Buddy Program) and I came up with 26 easy ways to help the environment. We’re both pretty conscientious about our daily choices, but felt that there is always room for improvement. So, if you’re looking for easy ways to help the environment, here are 26 of them!

26 Easy Ways to Help the Environment

25 Easy Ways to Help the Environment

  1. Don’t smoke

  2. Throw away waste/recyclables/compost in their appropriate bins

  3. Don’t pick plants or cut down trees just because you want to

  4. Bring your own mug/thermos to the coffee shop

  5. Use things made with recyclable materials as much as you can

  6. Donate to environmental organizations

  7. Walk, ride your bike, or use public transit

  8. Watch nature channels and documentaries to learn more about the environment and how you can help

  9. Don’t waste water

  10. Turn off the lights and unplug outlets when you leave the room

  11. Plant more plants!

  12. Use revolving doors (they help conserve energy)

  13. Don’t run water while you brush your teeth (you can use a cup of water instead)

  14. Don’t use exfoliants with plastic microbes because they harm fish and wildlife

  15. Pay your bills online

  16. Use environmentally friendly lightbulbs

  17. Don’t wash your hair frequently

  18. Stir coffee with dry pasta instead of a stir stick

  19. Use a dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand and only run it when it’s full

  20. Reduce or eliminate meat consumption

  21. Use a refillable water bottle

  22. Limit use of napkins (try using only one next time)

  23. Don’t put glass in the trash

  24. Eat + shop locally

  25. Support + use renewable energy as much as possible

  26. Volunteer!

The Cutest Instagram Animals to Follow Now

The cutest Instagram animals are where I spend my time on Instagram. It’s hard to resist their sweet eyes, endearing grins, and awkward poses! Here are the top nine cutest Instagram animals. Go follow them right now!

The Cutest Instagram Animals to Follow Now

@theodoretoast

Cutest Instagram Animals - TheodoreToast
TheodoreToast tops the list because he lives next door to where I work. Plus he’s just so fluffy. Look at those eyes!

@bunnypigi

Cutest Instagram Animals - BunnyPigi
I love BunnyPigi also because she’s fluffy. I just really want to feed her a carrot.

@darcytheflyinghedgehog

16-10-05-instahedge-darcy
DarcyTheFlyingHedgehog has made me fall in love with rodents. He looks so sophisticated don’t you think?

@underbiteunite

Cutest Instagram Animals - UnderBite
UnderbiteUnite (aka Daisy) makes my heart melt. I love these animals overcoming adversity.

@marutaro

Cutest Instagram Animals - Maru
MaruTaro looks like the life of the party. I want him… now!

@marniethedog

Cutest Instagram Animals - Marnie
MarnieTheDog is one of the luckiest and cutest Instagram animals. She gets to meet celebs on a regular basis. Bitch.*

*Pun intended

@emonemon

Cutest Instagram Animals - ShiShi
Shi Shi (aka @emonemon) 100% reminds me of my own cat. Namely because of this photo.

@pudgethecat

Cutest Instagram Animals - PudgeCat
PudgeTheCat is one of the cutest Instagram animals that looks the most surly. I seriously take pleasure in his misery.

Chi Chi via @stephiestylings

Cutest Instagram Animals - Chi Chi
I also share photos of my own cutest Instagram animal, Chi Chi. Follow us @stephiestylings.

VIFF 2016 Must See Films in Vancouver

I don’t think I’ll have time to see all my VIFF 2016 must see films, but I’m excited for the festival nonetheless. The Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) is by far my favorite festival in Vancouver. Every year, I buy a six-pack pass for all my VIFF 2016 must see films, but it’s not nearly enough to catch all the flicks that peak my interest.

Here is my list of the top 11 VIFF 2016 must see films in Vancouver.

Top 11 VIFF 2016 Must See Films in Vancouver

VIFF 2016 Must See Films

Screenshot taken from VIFF.org.

All descriptions are taken from the VIFF website.
I have no affiliation with VIFF, just absolutely love it!

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 01 :: Julieta

After the raucous sex comedy of I’m So Excited and the psychological body horror of The Skin I Live In, Pedro Almodóvar brings us a vivid, female-driven picture that takes him back to a near-extinct genre: the heart-on-the-sleeve melodrama. Based on stories by Alice Munro, Julieta uses a familiar framework to house the director’s idiosyncratic style.

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 02 :: The Teacher

The prolific Czech director-writer duo Jan Hřebejk and Petr Jarchovský (Divided We Fall) return to top form with the compelling Slovak-language dramedy The Teacher. Set in Bratislava during the final decade of communism, it examines the abuse of power at a middle school. Zuzana Mauréry (named best actress at Karlovy Vary) tears into the part of a lifetime as a terrifying instructor who heads the local Communist Party and uses her pupils to manipulate their parents for her own personal benefit…

Buy Tickets

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 03 :: Franca: Chaos and Creation

hen fashion insiders want to visit the territory where fashion, art and provocation meet, they pick up Vogue Italia, considered the world’s most important fashion magazine. With Franca: Chaos and Creation, director Francesco Carrozzini has made an intimate portrait of his mother, Franca Sozzani, the legendary editor-in-chief of the magazine since 1988. Encompassing both the ridiculous and the sublime, her astonishing but often controversial magazine covers have not only broken the rules but also set the high bar for fashion, art and commerce over the past 25 years. From 2005’s infamous Plastic Surgery Issue in which photographer Steven Meisel documented supermodel Linda Evangelista’s “makeover” to the legendary Black Issue in 2008, which featured only black models and—despite industry prognostications to the contrary—sold out in America and the UK in 72 hours, Sozzani was unafraid to take the industry by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shake. As the film shows, she remains deeply committed to exploring subject matter off limits to most and occasionally redefining the concept of beauty in the process.

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 04 :: The Unknown Girl

Adèle Haenel (Love at First Fight, VIFF 14) confirms her place in the firmament of French movie stars with a riveting turn in Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s (Two Days, One Night, VIFF 14) latest drama. She plays Jenny, a committed young Belgian doctor who, when not training interns and making house calls, cares for the poor and needy at the clinic where she works. One day she receives a call from the police: a woman’s body has been found on a nearby riverbank. Might Jenny have any information that could help with the investigation? With a shock, she realizes that the woman was someone she had turned away from the clinic due to the lateness of the hour. With her conscience preying on her, she makes some inquiries of her colleagues and realizes that few seem even remotely interested in the fate, or even the identity, of the woman, who was black and without papers. So, driven by guilt, Jenny decides to investigate for herself…

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 05 :: Sonita

The dismaying practice of selling teenagers into marriage is thrust into the damning spotlight in Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s essential documentary. An Afghan refugee in Iran, 14-year-old Sonita aspires to be a hip-hop superstar like Rihanna. But such fantasies can’t fully distract her from the grim reality that she and her teenage friends all have prices on their heads. During breaks at school, she and her fellow refugees don’t talk about boys or pop culture trends, but how much their parents will get for them. When Sonita’s brother requires a dowry to pay for his own bride, her family decides that selling her is the best way to secure the necessary funds.

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 06 :: Lights Before Water

Made in collaboration with the Cree community of Waswanipi, Lights Above Water is an extraordinary documentary that is equal parts observational and poetic. Shot over the course of a year, co-directors Nicolas Lachapelle and Ariel St-Louis Lamoureux’s film follows a group of young children through their daily lives as they talk about their home, play, hunt, and dance (a moment that triggers a particularly memorable Rihanna music cue). The camera manages to keep a distance, allowing the children to guide the film and express themselves, privileging the viewer by immersing us in their world. Expressive stylistic flourishes and striking imagery imbue the work with a lyrical quality unusual for documentary. A generous and humane meditation on identity and place unfettered by an issue-driven hook or a conventional narrative, Lights Above Water (a colloquial translation of “Waswanipi”) is the rare sort of film that refuses to impose its own agenda while transcending categorization and refraining from delivering a simple message. In so doing, it becomes a beautiful work of art to behold.

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 07 :: Neruda

Another robust and inventive drama from Pablo Larraín (No, VIFF 12; The Club, VIFF 15), Neruda, set in 1948 Chile, is more about the transformative possibilities of art and the power of cinematic storytelling than it is a biopic of the great poet, politician and diplomat Pablo Neruda (played here by Luis Gnecco). In fact, while the spirit of the poet hovers over every frame of the film, Neruda, the personage, takes a back seat to Gael García Bernal’s terrific performance as Oscar Peluchonneau, a somewhat inept yet self-aggrandizing police detective who, Javert-like, makes it his mission to hunt down Neruda once the poet is forced into hiding due to his communist beliefs. That we are never sure of Peluchonneau’s reliability as a guide through the proceedings is a deliberate strategy, as is the complex depiction of Neruda—the man is not accorded saint-like status by any means. For Larraín, the mere facts are secondary to the film artist’s ability to create worlds, and to celebrate the power of art. It is, after all, the poetry that really matters.

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 08 :: Cadence

Local filmmaker Alex Lasheras arrives on the scene with this debut feature, a unique psychological thriller dealing with notions of self-identity and reality. When the eponymous heroine begins to experience hallucinations during what is supposed to be a romantic getaway with her pop-star boyfriend, fear and confusion test her ability to distinguish the visions from reality.

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 09 :: Personal Shopper

Re-teaming after 2014’s Clouds of Sils Maria, director Olivier Assayas and star Kristen Stewart journey into the uncanny with a terrific horror story that begins, innocuously enough, as the tale of Maureen (Stewart), an American in Paris who makes ends meet by assisting snobby and demanding supermodel-cum-fashion designer Kyra (Nora Von Waltstätten). Though ill-treated, Maureen gets her own back by surreptitiously making use of Kyra’s haute-couture outfits and camping out in Kyra’s luxury apartment when the designer is away. But Maureen is much more than just a mildly transgressive personal shopper: she is, in fact, a medium who makes forays into the psychic realm in an effort to contact the spirit of her twin brother Lewis, a lad who died of the same congenital heart problem Maureen herself suffers from. When one of her frequent wanderings through the creepy old Parisian house that she and Lewis grew up in seems to lead to a connection, Assayas ratchets up the tension with the finesse of a master. In her heartfelt attempts to contact the other side, just what has Maureen wrought?

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 10 :: The Phantom Detective

Weird and rather wonderful, Jo Sunghee’s take on gumshoe mysteries, hard-boiled noir and vast conspiracy thrillers is every bit as idiosyncratic as you might expect from his previous films—all of which have played in VIFF. It’s set in a retro world without mobile phones and modern tech, and stylised in ways that bring memories of the Hollywood studio heyday rushing in. But at the same time it’s as Korean as kimchi (the underlying paranoid fantasies about a power-elite have a lot to do with Korea’s authoritarian past), and it has a gentle streak running through it which offsets the cruelty and violence. In short, it’s a typical Jo Sunhee movie.

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 11 :: Nelly

Anne Émond (Nuit #1) returns to VIFF with the startling and sensual true story of Nelly Arcan (born Isabelle Fortier), a young escort-turned-award-winning writer whose lurid life, skilfully penned accounts of her exploits and tragic death became a cause célèbre in Quebec. Arcan’s first novel Putain (Whore) caused a sensation and enjoyed immediate critical and media success. It contained enough similarities between the prostitute protagonist Cynthia and Arcan’s own experience as a professional sex worker to press the media’s buttons, making for instant celebrity in the Québec pantheon. Mylène MacKay delivers a memorable and steamy performance in the title role of Nelly, or, more precisely, the four faces of Nelly. There’s Nelly, the tell-all writer; Amy, the rapturous lover; Cynthia, the top-shelf whore; and Marilyn, the sparkling “glitterati.”

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

Pug in a Blanket, 100 Brilliant Books, Why Dating Can Suck Big Time, and Other Links

Photo by Matthew Wiebe

Photo courtesy Unsplash by Matthew Wiehe

I don’t know about you, but a pug in a blanket makes everything okay! And I rrrrreally needed that! The first months of my 2016 have been busier, crazier, more hectic than any other year. I’ve worked 50 hour weeks, applied to writing residencies, gone on some cute and some awkward dates, done a nude photoshoot, revamped my Neatos interview series, started a new interview series on my burlesque blog, started a words as art project, considered moving to London, joined artScene Vancouver, and more! This week I’ve decided to share a few links that help keep me sane when everything else seems to be insane.

* This collection of photographs is free to use, and, PS, they’re hiring

* Have you heard of the Bullet Journal? It’s revolutionized how I organize my life! It’s great to keep my journal-type entries + my day planner in one place

* I’ve read a few, but would like to read all these 100 Canadian books that make our country look GOOD

* Do you cringe as much as I do at these suspenseful still lives? If you have time peruse the full site, it’s delightful

* Ever wanted to meet the artist up close? Small Stage (the dance organization I’m a Board Member with) is hosting a salon series where you can hang out with the artists before the show

* This article struck a cord with me. It describes to the men we love how we feel about the men who scare (and why sometimes a simple interaction to you is terrifying to us)

* I’m single (!!) but sometimes I really hate dating

* I’ve been thinking of doing the Whole 30 diet and this recipe looks damn good

* There’s a podcast for Vancouver writers

Now, you tell me, what’s inspiring you this week? Leave a comment below and let me know.

12 Christmas Things of Christmas

12 Christmas Things of Christmas

One

Find the panda among the snowmen! Do it!

Two

A cool calligraphy diy gift, for you last minute adrenaline junkies.

Three

Christmas morning waffles anyone?

Four

A calendar to start your year off right. Did I mention it’s free?

Five

Why make a gingerbread house when you could make a gingerbread cake? Food for thought.

Six

Umm,so, panda gift wrap diy. Yes please.

Seven

Christmas and Ryan Gosling. Need I say more?

Eight

Delicious hot chocolate hacks.

Nine

And something spiked.

Ten

You used to call me on my elf phone?

Eleven

Kids are just total magic.

Twelve

You could adopt these cuties, just saying.

Some Cool Sh*t :: Street Art, #PMJT, and a Bunch of Good Reads

Vancouver Street Art

Vancouver street art in Gastown.

* I just love this Forty Over 40 initiative. More award giving publications + organizations should do this. Youth, especially in women, is held in such high regard that the wisdom, accomplishment, and beauty of older generations is lost (*ignored). We can make great achievements at any age.

* We recently elected a new Prime Minister in Canada and this is his party trick. Also voter turnout was the highest it’s been since 1993.

* Design*Sponge has been featuring some beautiful art.

* Cat gifs aren’t just a waste of time. Here’s what you can learn from those cute, furry balls of meow.

* Love art? Become a Young Patron at Vancouver’s CAG.

* A past life regression meditation, if you’re into that sort of thang.

* Ladies! Does this ever happen to you?

* Wanna read 100 books? Here’s a list of 100 of the best Canadian novels.

* 100 books too much? Try these 29 short stories.

* I need a new filing cabinet and this one is pretty cool.

* So this… just the best thing to do on an autumn weekend.

* Are party suits the new ugly sweaters? I think so, yes.

* An interesting read on success.

* Aaaaaaand, an all time feel good, booty shaking favourite.

28 of the Best Things I Ever Did :: Workouts, Writing, and More

I recently read a Danielle LaPorte post about the 28 best things she ever did for herself. It got me thinking. Having just turned 28, maybe I should write one too. Here goes!

28 of the Best Things I Ever Did :: Workouts, Writing, and More

28 of the best things I ever did

1. Ditched coffee for tea. Black tea. Very, black tea.

2. Started drinking green smoothies in the morning.

3. Adopted cats. (People say I “saved” them, but I think it’s the other way around.)

4. Moved back home with my parents for a while after University. (It felt like a giant step backwards, but I’m so thankful for that time I spent with them. It brought us closer.)

5. Took a web design class.

6. Took burlesque dance classes. Performed. Performed again.

7. Started blogging. (I’ve met so many neat people through this thang!)

8. Kept writing.

9. Stopped being a vegetarian. Started eating only organic meats, for the most part!

10. Got a Dyson vacuum. (It was a gift. Does that count? Hah!)

11. Redesigned—simplified—my web design.

12. Tried spin class. Loved it. Kept going.

13. Started walking, a lot.

14. Started reading oracle/goddess/divinity cards. (They give me the direction I need, insight into my thought processes. Plus now I can predict the future… just kidding.)

15. Went where I wanted, even if it meant going alone.

16. Organized a nude calendar in my early university days. (It was my first big art project and made me proud.)

17. Called myself an artist. (The label can be so elitist, as if you need a panel to nod approval before you may proceed.)

18. Faked it till I made it. (Not sure I’ve “made” it yet, the concept applies to many facets of my life.)

19. Kept up with my oral hygiene.

20. Wrote the poems even if he doesn’t show me any care or respect whatsoever. They’re good either way.

21. Let go of having to be the “bigger person” every time. Eff that.

22. Gave myself more time to sleep in, less time to hit snooze.

23. Tried fish tacos. Yum!

24. Backed out of a few situations that weren’t serving me well. (See number 21 above.)

25. Started wearing high waisted jeans.

26. Jumped into entrepreneurship.

27. Got a good mattress for my bed. (Also a gift, but I asked for it, yeah?!)

28. Started dating. (Too many cute fellas to stay hung up on old flames.)

A Birthday Roundup of Fun

I’m excited about being twenty-eight. It feels like the beginning of something fun. My earlier twenties were fraught with anxiety about getting older, but this year I feel all skippity doo dah about being young! Weird.

Here are some fun things on the internets.

Chi Chi the cat

* My cat put herself to bed the other day

* This cat against the windshield wipers

* A giant egg painted on the road

* R2D2 flies through the sky

* Lookin good for you

* VIFF is coming up soon + you can buy tickets now

* My new workout regimen that I never thought I’d enjoy

* The public pianos are back

* This cute NFB film that reminds me of home

* How this Canadian artist used his work to halt a pipeline development

The Best Things About Being Canadian

Happy Birthday, Canada! Thanks for being the best. In celebration of you, I’ve compiled a shortlist of the best things about being Canadian because being Canadian is the best.

The Best Things About Being Canadian

Best Things About Being Canadian

* Did you know that Canada has had marriage equality since July 20, 2005 + was the fourth country in the world (+ first outside Europe) to legalize same-sex marriage?

* Canada is the second largest country in the world + our landscapes are vast + varied. (Wide open spaces, bitches!)

* We birth some of the best artists in the world, of all genres. Here are a few of my favourite Canadian musicians + bands.

* We are proudly polite + giving.

* Polar bears live here. Over half the world’s population of them, actually.

* Ummm, let’s see, Ryan Gosling. (+ Rachel McAdams, Chris Hadfield, Ellen Page, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Ryan Reynolds, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Seth Rogan, William Shatner, Malin Akerman, the list goes on…)

* We can get from one coast of the country to the next on the world’s longest highway.

* There are so many lakes (more than any other country) + the longest coastline of all.

* We are so freaking adorable, loved by all + have the cutest sayings.