Let’s Talk About Mental Health Baby

I do not consider myself as someone who knows a lot about mental health, but in recent years I have many friends who have revealed to me the mental health issues they suffer from and I myself do too. So yes, I do not know a lot nor do I claim that I do but it is for this reason that I am always eager to learn more about it, and so should you. #BellLetsTalk is amazing because you see the immense outpour of support from people worldwide but let’s not forget that talking about mental health is not limited to just that day. Mental health has become such a huge part of my life that I find myself having conversations with family, friends, and even strangers about it daily and often unintentionally. Whether it’s me teaching them something new, me learning something, or together learning something knew, the conversation is ongoing.

The important thing about talking about mental health is that it provides those who are suffering from a mental health issue a healthy environment in which they feel comfortable enough to get the help they need. Admitting to not only others but to yourself that you have a mental health issue is a tough process especially in an environment that isn’t understanding. So keep talking! Don’t be afraid to ask questions because that’s the only way you’re going to learn and evolve! Living with a mental health issue isn’t easy but support from everyone makes it that much better!

 

The Year Vancouver’s Festival Season Died

First of all, let’s not kid ourselves and say we didn’t see it coming. Quite frankly, when Squamish Valley Music Festival announced the 4 day event would not be taking place back in 2016 it was only a matter of time for others to follow. There are several terrible things that happened in 2017 but for many music-loving Vancouverites, the cancellation of Pemberton Festival was the tip of the iceberg. I think what made it so painful was just how shocking the announcement was. Many, albeit clearly not enough, people had purchased tickets and had made plans to jam out to artists like Chance The Rapper, HAIM, Muse, Ween, and several others. News of the cancellation came about a mere 2 months before the festival was set to take place.

As festivals season is fast approaching and Coachella already underway, I’m left to wonder, and I’m sure you wonder as well, what is the future of Vancouver Festivals? Some might say there are still festivals like Seasons, Contact, Doomsday, but let me stop you right there! Those are all raves and while yes, they are 2-3 days of music and fun it is vastly different from the camping lifestyle that many summer festivals include. The drop-everything-nothing-but-4 days (sunrise to sundown) of music, food, and socializing. So far, all that’s left for 2018 is FVDED which again doesn’t include the same early-day to late-night vibes that most summer festivals have.

It looks like Vancouverites will have to fork out some extra cash and take their festival travels further in search of some good camping, bumping tunes, and music-loving people. In case you’re looking to fill that empty void in your summer, here are festival close by worth checking out.

 

  1. Rifflandia Music Festival: September 14 – September 17 in Victoria, BC
  2. Bumbershoot Music Festival: August 31st – September 2nd in Seattle, Washington
  3. Sasquatch Music Festival: May 25th – May 27th at The Gorge, Washington
  4. Center of Gravity Music Festival: July 27th – July 29th in Kelowna, BC
  5. Shambhala Music Festival: August 10th – August 13 in Salmo River Ranch, BC
  6. Watershed Music Festival: August 3rd – August 5th at the Gorge, Washington
  7. Rockin’ River Country Music Festival: August 2nd – August 5th in Merritt, BC

Mastering The Art Of Karaoke

There’s nothing I love more than to sing. There’s only one problem, I am a terrible singer. I try to leave my performances to the small confines of my shower but sometimes I Feel Like A Woman comes on and I cannot help myself!  I apologize to anyone who has had to suffer through the pain of my singing. Due to my lack of vocal capabilities there’s nothing I love more than a good karaoke sesh. The thing about karaoke is that you’re not expected to be any good. In fact, the worse you are the better!  Sorry great singers, but just to let you know while I am impressed by your singing capabilities, the last thing I want to hear is how much better you are at hitting that high note on Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You. Seriously get out! For me karaoke began in high school when a bunch of us would get together and rent out a karaoke room and sing our little hearts outs while dying of laughter at just how terrible we all were. It changed my whole outlook on karaoke. In my mind it was always this thing of going up by yourself in front a crowd of strangers and nailing every note of a song. Thanks High School Musical for instilling that fear in me. While yes, there are karaoke nights at bars that do require you to go up in front of strangers often times people don’t care if you’re any good as long as you’re entertaining. Which is why, the song choice is EVERYTHING! Believe it or not there is a strategy to picking the best karaoke song.

Rule #1: Pick a song the crowd will most likely know. This way, even if you’re complete trash people will enjoy the song choice and maybe even join in singing, ultimately masking your terrible voice.

Rule #2: Make sure you know the song. It’s always the worst when you start a lyric too early because you don’t know the cue. However, if you do choose a song that you don’t know, own it! Make it known that you’re utterly clueless and run with it! Commitment is everything!

Rule #3: Have fun with it! This isn’t American Idol. You’re not here to charm everyone with your amazing voice (unless of course you do have an amazing voice in which case I am green with envy). People will vibe off of your energy!

If you need help picking a song, here are my top 5 favourite karaoke songs:

  1. Man I Feel Like A Woman – Shania Twain (Of Course)
  2. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
  3. Proud Mary – Tina Turner
  4. Let It Go – Disney’s Frozen
  5. I Love Rock’N’Roll – Joan Jett and The Blackhearts

Now you’re ready to rock out!

Fist-Pumping Jerzdays Are Back

I am a lover of trash TV and one my all time favourites is back!! Jersey Shore was that show that I half ashamedly admit never missed any episode so why would I start now? When I heard the show was having a reunion season I was stoked but I mean the great thing about that show was their single-drunk adventures and now only one of them is truly single out of the 6 of them and 4 are even parents! So how are you going to entertain me for an hour? Well after watching the 2 episode premiere last week, I came to realize that it was going to be better than ever. Being responsible adults just means that they’re going to take advantage of any opportunity to let loose and have a good time. Things have really changed with each of them and it’s kind of nice to see that change. Don’t even get me started on Mike “The Situation” who has been sober for 2 years and has done a complete 180 of his life, proud of you Mike! Granted, it’s only episode 3 now so we’ll see how that goes.

Of course, the show is still full of drama, even without Sammi who everyone kind of labelled as the drama queen but they can’t blame her for it now. In fact, her deciding to not take part in the reunion has made me realize that Ron is a bigger drama queen. I’ve also kind of noticed he likes to play the victim card or act like he’s being the bigger person when really he’s just being manipulative, just me? Hmm, I’m trying to give him the benefit of doubt since it’s only episode 3 so only time will tell. So, in case you’re wondering what I’ll be doing on Thursdays.., well there’s your answer!

Wanderlust Is A Curse

The travel bug is a funny thing because it’s an itch that no amount of scratching will make go away. Think about it. Whenever, I go on vacation no matter how far or close it may be it only makes my need to travel bigger. On top of that, travelling has become a right of passage in ways. A norm of sorts. Nowadays, it has become extremely common for people to travel all over the globe. It’s beautiful to see people exploring different cultures and ultimately learning new things. I believe that this kind of knowledge is priceless and is really is for the greater good of this planet. Being more knowledgeable on different cultures will result in more empathetic people.

One thing I have been struggling with, and so have a lot of my friends, is finding the perfect balance between travel and your career. I mean travel is not cheap and finding ways to fund all those trips is important. Sure there are a lucky few who can work abroad or even get paid to travel (that is the dream) but the reality is that oftentimes you can find yourself tied down by other obligations. The problem is that you might love what you’re doing but the NEED to travel is so strong that it makes you want to drop everything and book the first flight out. A lot of the time my web browser is just a bunch of tabs looking at cheap airline tickets. So yea, wanderlust is both a blessing and a curse. Blessed to have the drive to explore and learn but cursed to inevitably have to choose between travelling the world or my career. Don’t worry though, I am determined to find the perfect balance! It is possible! “Where there’s a will there’s a way”… or something like that.

The Best Kind Of Club

There are many great clubs, nightclubs, turkey clubs, country clubs, but the best is by far book clubs. I never really realized how great book clubs were until my years in high school. See I had a bad taste in my mouth about book clubs because I always just imagined them as those reading groups you’d be forced into in Elementary school, remember those? If you don’t then let me refresh your memory. There often was about 5 books for you to choose from and you’d get a synopsis of each book, then the teacher would call you up one by one so you could inform her on your pick. The problem with this is that it gave you no time to discuss with your friends on which book you should all pick so that you’d end up in the same group. Instead you’d end up with a random selection of kids. The other problem with this system is that not everyone likes reading and so you’d end up in a group with people who could care less about reading let alone the underlying message of the Outsiders. This carried onto high school until my final year when I was blessed with an incredible group when I picked The Kite Runner. So I’ll let you in on a little secret, I kind of cheated this time around. I had already read The Kite Runner before and so I thought this would just make the whole experience a little easier and a lot let less painful. Except, I was in for a big surprise when the group actually turned out to be awesome! I reread the book and it was a completely different experience as we’d all come together everyday to discuss what we had read and analyze the literature. I had a newfound excitement in group reading and book clubs. Unfortunately it seemed like that was both the beginning and end to something beautiful. Years went by and I would read on my own and constantly crave those group discussions. Eventually I began to work at a bookstore and some of my coworkers began a book club for both employees and customers and I finally got my fix.

Currently I’m in no book club which makes me sad. I’m constantly trying to push books on my friends so that I’ll have someone to discuss the book with, but let’s be real it’s hard to enjoy anything when you feel like it’s being forced onto you. I’m definitely itching to find a good book club though so my search will continue. If you think about it, book clubs can be compared to a lot of things, like when girls get together to watch The Bachelor together and spend the entire time talking about the contestants and who should or shouldn’t get a rose. I’d even go as far as comparing it to sports highlights, when commentators get together and discuss the game and teams. I’m just saying there needs to be more book clubs.

Make-Up. Fashion. Drag!

If you haven’t already heard of RuPaul’s Drag Race then you’ve been living under a rock! Don’t worry though because up until recently I was just as lost as you were. Over a particular long game of beer pong my opponent and I got to talking about some of our favourite things. You’ve probably guessed it already, she LOVES RuPaul’s Drag Race. I’ve heard so much great things about the show so I’m not completely clueless and obviously I had seen all the memes and funny gifs from the show but I had never actually sat down and watched it. My opponent began to explain to me why it would be the best thing to ever happen to me and she was absolutely right. The next day I had a lazy day, ok it was a hangover day and so naturally I lied in bed and binge watched some Netflix. What did I watch you might wonder? RuPaul’s Drag Race of course! You know how there are some shows that you have to wait until the 3rd of 4th episode to really get into it, well that’s so not the case with RuPaul’s Drag Race. Immediately, I was mesmerized. It was the whole package! It has the humour, the challenge, the dancing, the storyline, THE MAKEUP, THE FASHION, THE FIERCENESS!! It is heaven! As the show progressed I became more invested and learned a lot along the way too. I was also just in awe of the amazing talent that these women have! Their creations are beyond anything I could imagine. The amount of work that would go into all of it too is real! The do everything themselves, from the clothes to makeup and hair. It’s all so incredible! I am so glad I watched it sooner than later especially since they’ll be bringing the action to Vancouver in September! That’s right! RuPaul’s Drag Race: Werq The World tour is coming to Vancouver on September 22nd and rumour has it they will be revealing the contestants for season 10!! So, do yourself a favour and go binge watch RuPaul’s Drag Race so you will be ready come September.

My Dear Melancholy

Just some brilliant music from The Weeknd. There was no warning on the release of his newest EP My Dear Melancholy and I wasn’t prepared for just how emotional of an EP it would be either. I mean thinking about it now it makes sense considering this is the first release of music from The Weeknd since his breakup with Selena Gomez. I might sound heartless to say but I am glad the two broke it off because this EP is easily my favourite stuff from The Weeknd. Now wait a second because that’s not how I felt at first. Actually, I went in listening to the album with serious hater-ears, meaning I was ready to hate it and scrutinize it. Naturally I did hate it at first. My initial thought was “wow this sounds like everything else he’s done” but by the third time I started to really listen and got the full impact of the lyrics. The thing about The Weeknd is that his music is our only look into his life, thoughts, and feelings. It’s no secret that The Weeknd does not do interviews and is pretty lowkey. When he first started out, I thought that was quite odd but eventually just accepted and then almost forgot about it altogether. So, when I heard this album the third time I realized not only is this the first time we’re hearing him talk about his break up but probably the ONLY time since he refuses to do interviews. In the song Call Out My Name in which he sampled one of his own song Earned It, he sings:

I said I didn’t feel nothing, baby, but I lied
I almost cut a piece of myself for your life
Guess I was just another pit stop
‘Til you made up your mind
You just wasted my time

To which fans have taken to mean that he was going to donate his kidney to his ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez. As for the sound itself, yes I do think it sound very similar to a lot of his other work, I mean he did sample Earned It, but it’s even possible that he did that on purpose? I mean the album is titled My Dear Melancholy. Maybe that’s a stretch but it’s a good enough reason for me so I’ll go with that. The EP debuted at no.1 and now there is also a mini doc I Was Never There, that details the recording process behind the album.

For The Love Of Sports

Sports have always been the best way to get kids active and socializing. Chances are you were involved in some kind of sport team or program at some point in your life. You might not have been any good at it but that’s besides the point. It’s also great for the parents because it’s a way of getting rid of the kids for a bit, am I right? If you did play sports then you most likely fall under at least one of the following:

1. Soccer
2. Baseball/Softball
3. Volleyball
4. Basketball
5. Hockey
6. Football
7. Dance
8. Track and Field
9. Cross country

These are what I like to call the Basic Sports. They’re widely popular and the most commonly talked about sports but there’s still so many sports out there that aren’t as popular but they should be.

1. Ultimate: I have seen the sport grow tremendously over the years and I think it’s great! I myself never got into the sport but I watched a lot and can appreciate the hard work that goes into it. If you’re sitting there thinking “it’s just throwing a frisbee” then you are SO wrong and have clearly never watched an actual ultimate game. Not only that but it’s one of the few sports that is for the most part coed.

2. Rugby: Ok, as a former rugby player I may be a little bias.. ok a lot bias when I say that it’s the greatest sport of all time. Sure you’re either tackling someone or being tackled 97% of the time but you’re also connected to your teammates on a whole new level. I also always felt that their was so much respect between players and teams despite wanting to knock every player into the ground.

3. Swimming: Sure just about everyone learns to swim but imagine doing that competitively. I never really thought about it until I found out a classmate competed. She was a very smart, shy girl who once, at the age of 12 beat our 30 year old student liaison at doing the most pull ups. The girls arms were ripped! But you’d never know because she always kept it under wraps.

4. Cricket: First of all, have you ever tried to play cricket? Maybe it was just me, but it was difficult for me to understand the game. Actually it was difficult for my entire grade 10 PE class. So much so that our PE teacher had to dumb it down for us and give us a “simplified” version (I was still quite clueless) but I enjoyed myself so much! I was also extremely tired but don’t tell! I think I did a good job of hiding my panting and wheezing.


In the end, you’re right though, it doesn’t matter what sport they’re joining on as long as they’re staying active; on the other hand, why not widen your horizons and try something new?

Love Letters

Just the other day I was going through an old dusty photo album that was practically coming apart at the seams from being over stuffed with pictures. It was a mess of pictures too. Everything from colourful baby pictures of me and my siblings to faded pictures of my grandparents on their farm. It was nice to sit and look back at the past and imagine what life must have been like for them. What caught my attention the most was the greeting cards that were tucked all the way into the back. Hand-drawn greeting cards. One had a big red heart with doves meeting in the middle for a kiss. At first I thought that was all there was to it but when I opened it the entire card was full of handwriting, from top to bottom. It was in Spanish and the handwriting was a little difficult to read but I made out what I could and pieced together the rest. It turns out that they were love letters my dad sent to my mother when he moved to California and she was still in Guatemala. The gesture was sweet but it got me thinking, at what point did love letters become extinct? It makes sense that with the advances of technology you no longer need to send a physical card but what would even be the present day equivalent to a love letter? The close I’ve come to a love letter would be an “are you up?” text at 2 am and there’s nothing romantic about that. Sure maybe during Valentine’s Day, birthdays, maybe anniversaries your significant give you a cute little Hallmark card with a cliché quote that conveys your message (along with the other 7.6 billion people in this world). I’m not saying you have to send me a written essay via a raven. Just some thought and genuine expression of feeling. Like my mother always said “use your words”.

On The Road Again

The road holds a very near and dear place in my heart. I’ve heard so many horror stories involving road trips. So, while you may have some road trip horror stories I only have fond memories. Actually, I do have some horror stories but I still love those moments and wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. I’ve read that the first memories are formed at age 3 but that at age 7 you experience childhood amnesia, which is when those early memories begin to fade. For the most part I think it’s definitely true that you forget a lot of your early memories and yet some of the earliest memories I can recall involve me being on the road with my family.

My first road trip was at the age of 3 when my family and some friends packed up a few cars and drove down to Guatemala. No you didn’t read that wrong my family DROVE to Guatemala. I don’t recall how long it took for us to get there but according to my family it took us 1-2 weeks to arrive at our destination. Guatemala is 65 hours away but with 3 kids under the age of 10 and lots of family to see along the way, we made a lot of stops. You would think that being stuck in a car with 3 kids for 1-2 weeks would scar you but nope! A few short years later my family decided to do it all over again. For the 2nd trip my oldest sister was 11, I was 6, and my youngest brother was 3. While I might not remember every single day on the road or of the trip, I do remember very random and specific things. I remember being in Arizona and pleading my father to buy me a heart-shaped necklace to which he said no but later surprised me with. I remember my mother sitting in the back of the van braiding my hair little by little until my entire head was completely covered. Or the time we stayed in a beach side hotel in Mexico and I found a lizard on the wall. Also being a very spoiled brat and getting jealous of all the gifts my parents got for all the kids in town. I even remember when we got pulled over in Mexico and the crooked cops tried to extort my father. Now, while I loved being on the road, I don’t think I could’ve spent that much time in a car on the way back. Instead, my family would sell our cars down there or gift them to family members and fly back. From that point on, my love for road tripping just grew. My family never road tripped back down to Guatemala but we often drove down to Los Angeles to visit family.

 


 

 

 

 

Being on the road planted the seed for my love of road travel as I got older. I always dreamed of throwing my belongings into the back of my car and driving for days, and that’s exactly what I did. When I turned 17 and got my license I would often pack my car and head out. Of course at that age the farthest I’d go with friends would be a weekend in Kelowna, Osoyoos, or just anywhere in the interior. Eventually this lead to my first solo girls road trip to California, what could possibly go wrong? It was smooth sailing for the most part on our way there. We got stuck in some traffic getting out of San Francisco which added another 4 hours to our trip but besides that, we made it to Los Angeles safely! The trip back on the other hand… Every stereotypical thing that could’ve gone wrong on a road trip did.

– A flat tire in the middle of nowhere late at night (bless the buddhist monk who pulled over to help us).

– The spare tire was also flat (bless BCAA who came to pump it up).

– No tire shops open for another 10 hours and having to sleep in the car parked in a sketchy lot.

– The tire shop not having the specific tire and having to drive somewhere else to order one.

– Waiting for 6 hours for the new tire to arrive from the warehouse.

So, it wasn’t a smooth trip back home but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Friendships were definitely tested but we all came out on top and look back and laugh about it. I mean if anything, it’s a great story to tell!

Furniture That Speaks To Me

I’m not usually one to look at an inanimate object and think

“this lamp says I’m a classy ambitious young woman ready to conquer the world”

Instead I’m the kind of person who looks at a second-hand lamp and thinks

“Based on the floral print I imagine a young woman bought this lamp brand new about 20 years ago and it sat on her living room side table where her cat would often use the sides to scratch its back”.

Yup, I know it’s kind of weird but that’s just the way my brain is wired. That’s also one of the biggest reasons I love going to vintage stores and antique shops. The other day Mckenna and I spent our day in Fort Langley hopping from one antique shop to another and I was in heaven. Every item I would look at I would suddenly wonder who it belonged to and I’d start wonder about the kind of person they were and the kind of life they lived. I’d see an old Barbie doll, y’know the kind that isn’t technically barbie but it’s close enough, and I would suddenly imagine this little girl sitting in her carpeted room dressing her Barbie and making sure she looked the prettiest. At one point we came across an old wicker picnic basket and the romantic side of me imagined a young couple taking a stroll in the park, finding the best tree to sit under, read out loud to each other and share a sandwich. Sometimes, I’d see an item that would remind me of something from my own childhood like when we came across a crate of records right next to a crate of Barbies and I began to tell Mckenna

“When I was younger, my mom had a bunch of records and some of the cardboard cases would open up like a book so my sister and I would set them up all over our playroom. They’d basically serve as dividers/walls to make different bedrooms or what not. Then we’d grab our pillows and use those as our barbies beds. It was our makeshift Barbie mansion.”

For you antique shopping might all be about finding that gorgeous armoire that’ll fit perfectly with your decor but for me it’s all about appreciating that simple object and the small little joy it brought into people’s lives (I know that’s cheesy). 

 

Hip-Hop Is Dead

Hip-Hop is dead, but only in Vancouver apparently. All I can say is that I’m disappointed in you Vancouver. I’m very involved in the Hip-Hop culture and I’ve always felt a bit like an outcast because Vancouver’s Hip-Hop community is rather small. The things is that I’ll often get people who say they are fans which I get super excited about because I think “YESS! Finally someone who gets it and will understand everything I talk about” and slowly I realize that’s not the case. Often times It’s a very surface level hip-hop love. The kind of love for very mainstream hip-hop or the hits. This has lead to fewer hip-hop artists making appearances in Vancouver. As a major hip-hop lover this is very upsetting. Vancouver is a great big city and yet it seems like we fall short with a lot of things. Our sports teams are mediocre, arts are above average but little rooms for success, fashion isn’t as innovative or exciting, and “the best” music is Top 40. Actually that’s a great way of putting Vancouver: Top 40. It seems like it follows trends and doesn’t bother to hang on to or really appreciate everything. Vancouver is such a great beautiful city with so much potential and yet we’re often left behind. I don’t think I really noticed this until I attended my first concert in Seattle. Once again back in 2015 J. Cole would not bring his Forest Hills Drive tour to Vancouver and so I had to venture to Seattle to catch for what would be my 2nd time. The 1st time I watched J. Cole was at the PNE Forum back in 2014. It was a great concert and he had a live band which just really changed everything. However, when I attended his concert in Seattle I realized just how much the crowd can change the atmosphere. I had a very crappy seat but I was able to sneak my way up somehow with my friends. I was worried that people would be angry or upset but if anything people were happier, y’know the whole “the more the merrier” vibe. We all danced, screamed, and took pictures together like we had known each other our whole lives.

My next concert comparison was for G-Eazy. I went to his When It’s Dark Out tour in Vancouver back in 2016 and just last weekend I went to Seattle for The Beautiful and Damned tour. Again back in 2016 I definitely was impressed and enjoyed my time but it was nothing like the atmosphere in Seattle. It’s like a whole other world where everyone puts all kinds of differences aside and for the night just vibe out to great music. It felt like everyone in the venue was a die hard fan, from the girl being pushed up against the fence at the very front to crappiest nose-bleed seats in the back. I genuinely don’t know what it is but I can hands down say that I prefer concerts in Seattle rather than Vancouver, sorry not sorry.

The Beautiful and Damned

In case you didn’t already know, I am a BIG hiphop and rap fan. I could tell you just how obsessive I can get but I’ll save myself the embarrassment. Back in 2016 Oakland rapper G-Eazy brought his When It’s Dark Out tour to Vancouver and as a big fan I was obviously in attendance. Ever since then I’ve been impatiently waiting for his return. My impatience grew when his newest album The Beautiful and Damned was released. I checked his instagram daily waiting for a tour announcement and when it finally came I was disappointed. The Beautiful and Damned would not be coming to Beautiful British Columbia, can you believe that? Naturally, I went through a few emotional stages.

Stage 1: Sadness! I was heartbroken that he wouldn’t be coming back to Vancouver, especially considering how much I loved his album!

Stage 2: Anger! I mean HELLO!!?? It’s Vancouver how could he not come? It’s not like it’s the middle of nowhere!!

Stage 3: Denial! No there’s no way he’s not coming maybe there’s more tour dates to be announced! But can I wait that long??

Eventually, I quickly texted my designated concert buddy and told her we’d be going on a trip whether she liked it or not. See, she and I are the kind of people who buy concert tickets before figuring out how we’ll get there. In case you’re wondering, 100% success rate so far! I got my ticket for The Beautiful and Damned tour live in Seattle, Washington. It really isn’t that far so I wasn’t worried on the whole getting there part. Fast forward a few months after buying the tickets, and 4 of us were on our way to Seattle to witness a musical masterpiece. Our ride down to Kent consisted of a hype music playlist which included G-Eazy of course, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Tory Lanez, Beyonce, SZA, and many more. At one point we realized we hadn’t heard anything of the openers music so we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to give it a listen. I won’t lie, I wasn’t a big fan. It had potential but I didn’t feel like it would pump me up enough for G-Eazy and so we decided to skip the openers. I’m usually one to always give artists a chance anyways but working late the night before and waking up at the crack of dawn the day of meant this girl needed a nap.

Finally I found myself weaving through the crowd to get as close as possible to the stage. There really is no explaining a concert like that one. There was not one person in the crowd that wasn’t either singing or dancing along. Here’s the thing I’ve noticed over my years of attending concerts: the crowd can make or break it. Sometimes, if the crowd is dead then it won’t matter if the artist or band is absolutely killing it on stage. That was so not the case this time around. It honestly almost felt like a big group of friends. It didn’t matter which way I turned everyone was happy and socializing with one another and rapping along. The energy of the crowd only fueled G-Eazy on more. He had the perfect balance between interacting with the crowd and performing. Not only that but it all was very fluid. Each song just pushed the crowds limit further. It’s like Thanksgiving dinner; Just when you think you’ve reached your limit of food, out comes desert and suddenly you have a little bit more room. I was so caught up in the performance that I would sometimes would forget that I was taking a video and therefore it would just be a shaky blur (sorry to all my snapchat followers). I have attended several great concerts in my life but this one was hands down top 5!

I have now entered my post-concert depression stage and I’m going through some major withdrawals. I can’t even listen to a song of his without tearing up in joy. However, I’m also super motivated to accomplish great things in life so that hopefully one day in the near future my life can be full of moments like this.

The Power in a Teacher

As I approach the finish line in my career as a student (when you’ve been in school this long yes it’s a career), I look back at all those years and reminisce. Actually, the other day a friend and I came up with this challenge: who can name all their teachers and profs in order! I started off strong with elementary school, but by the time I got to high school it was hard to remember all the courses I had taken let alone who taught them. It was weird, but as I named each teacher I felt this melancholic pull. I began to think of all the ways these different teachers have impacted my life. Some that I had forgotten and others that I still keep in contact with. It dawned on me that these connections have really shaped the person I have become. It opened my eyes at how some of those teachers I once thought were “insignificant” have played a vital role in my life. Suddenly we were recalling some of the best, worst, and funniest moments in our lives with some of these teachers. Mckenna, Syd, and Mankiran shared some of their teacher stories with me too.

Mckenna: One of my favourites would’ve been Mr. Moore in grade 12. There wasn’t anything super special; he was just very nice. I remember seeing his picture on the wall of when he went to high school and he had a flock of seagull hair and it was hilarious.

One of my least favourite was Mrs. Ross. She was literally the worst crotchety old lady. We would do reading assignments and I was listening rather than reading along, and she came over and clawed my shoulder and started going off about me not following along to the point that I cried. Then the next year she did something with her hip, so her students had to push her around. I don’t know why she didn’t just retire.

 

Syd: Mr Boyes was my grade 9 English teacher and then I was class tutor in grade 10. He was very supportive and involved and just super cool and chill which made him easy to talk to. I don’t really think of him as a teacher but more of a mentor. Oh and he would always quote Buddy from Elf.

 

Mankiran: I don’t even remember his name but he was a younger guy and it was for a writing class. A lot of people dropped out because he was such a hard grader and his TA was just as bad. He was awful but I stayed because I needed the credits. Yea, he pissed off a lot of people.

I did have this one prof for a societal issues class. I don’t know why I signed up for it but it seemed interesting. I think it was professor Katherine or something? She was very passionate which made the class more enjoyable. She would just get the whole class so excited. The topics seemed boring but once she’d get the conversations going it was amazing. I’ve had very few profs that have been like that. I didn’t think I would have liked that class but I loved it. Oh, and it was a night class too which made it feel like it wasn’t school because it was just fun.

Therapy for Dummies

As you grow, your opinion changes on a lot of things. Whether it’s something small like food or something big like politics, there’s an inevitable change. This is good! It means you’re growing, evolving, and learning! Isn’t that a beautiful thing!! One thing I can say has changed for me is my outlook on therapy. I never thought therapy was a bad thing but in my old young eyes, therapy meant that there was a problem that needed to be fixed. As time has passed I’ve come to realize that isn’t exactly the case however, there are still a lot of people who think this way. On top of that, a lot of people have a very narrow look on what therapy looks like, again I once was one of those people. See, I always thought therapy involved me lying on a brown leather daybed, while a man in chunky black-frame glasses listens and writes notes as a I pour my heart out. Every now and then he’d chime in with “and how does that make you feel?” Clearly I watched Space Jam and Freaky Friday a few too many times growing up. I now realize how wrong of an assumption that was. Actually there are 2 main reasons I realize I was extremely ill-informed about therapy. The first thing would be my thought that therapy was only for someone who has a problem that needed to be fixed. I’ve come to realize that yes therapy is good when you have a problem it’s even better when you don’t have a problem. Why you might ask? Well think about it this way, if you have therapy before a problem then in turn you’re actively taking steps in preventing a big problem from happening. It’s like dental care! You brush your teeth every morning and night to keep them clean and prevent cavities. Sure this doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get a cavity but it does an awesome job of fighting it! So do you see the logic in therapy even when there isn’t a problem? The other big mistake I made with therapy was thinking it was exactly as shown in movies. I quickly learned that therapy comes in many shapes and forms. The most obvious would be a therapist but even that can be so general. A therapist can be a psychologist, priest, spiritual healer, barber, coach, and the list goes on. Just as these “therapist” differ so can be the act itself. Therapy doesn’t always have to involve spilling your guts. Sports, music, yoga, reading, or even SLEEP are considered forms of therapy. It’s funny because I’ve always been told that everyone is unique and yet everything seems to be so generalized and everyone expects it to apply to the masses. Where is the logic in that?

My Online Shopping Nightmare

Hi hello, are you an Amazon Primer? If you’re not then it’s probably just because you’ve never tried it. This past Christmas, as usual I left my shopping to the last minute. While I was at work stressing about all the shopping that still had to be done my boss kindly offered me her Amazon Prime account to get all my Christmas shopping done with one click. Amazon changed everything for me. However, I was playing a dangerous game. It’s so easy to get consumed by the one-click and done lifestyle, especially for someone who is already addicted to shopping as is. Really, Amazon sets up the perfect shopping environment: rude people, walking up and down aisles trying to find what you’re looking for, or the dreaded long lines!! You can do all your shopping from the comfort of your home. Don’t have a car? No worries, you can have it delivered! Sick and stuck in bed? No worries you can do it snuggled up in your blankets! Shopping sure has changed over the years.

 

The other day my friend said she had to go PICK UP her groceries. I went with her thinking, maybe I heard wrong but boy was I in for a surprise when she walks up to a locker says some magic words (she just keyed in some code) and there were her groceries. I thought that was incredibly advanced. Suddenly, I swear it felt like I just blinked and next thing I know Amazon Go happens. If you haven’t heard of Amazon Go it’s basically a store with no cash registers. You are only granted access when you scan in with your Amazon account and that’s basically it. You grab what you need and walk out. Thanks to some witchcraft (cameras) Amazon knows what it is you have “purchased” and charges you Amazon account. See, I find all of this stuff super cool but again it’s so dangerous! I have no self control, making this easy will just lead to me spending ridiculous amounts of money. I guess I should just get used to being broke now.

Jessimae Takes On Vancouver

There’s nothing I love more than to have a good laugh with friends. I’m sure you like laughing at life just as much as I do, I mean how could you not? My favourite kind of comedy is a very honest humour. The kind that immediately makes you red in the face because you can totally relate to it and you’re also lowkey glad that you’re not alone. Girl Code was my first introduction to this kind of comedy, where these women came and just got really real about all the disgusting, crazy, and weird things almost every woman has probably done. I don’t know about you but for me, I often felt like I had to hide some of these things because I was taught that saying something like “I have to poop” out loud wasn’t ladylike and made me less desirable. I quickly learned that wasn’t the case, and that’s all thanks to the Girl Code gang. Girl Code first started back in 2013 and ever since then I have followed several of the comedians through their careers. When I heard that Girl Code OG Jessimae Peluso would be visiting Vancouver while on tour, I knew that I had to go. I had to shoot-my-shot, slide into those DM’s (Ok, I emailed) and set up an interview. Keep in mind it has now been 5 years of me following these ladies lives via social media so I know random tidbits about their lives that a complete stranger wouldn’t, and that kind of makes me feel like a stalker.

It had been a while since I had done an interview so of course I was nervous and Hello!!! I am a huge fan so I was internally fangirling. Right off the bat, the moment Jessimae greeted me with a hug, I knew I had nothing to worry about. She was friendly and conversation with her flowed easily. She’s that person in a room that talks to everyone like she’s known them forever and you desperately want to befriend. I’d like to say she’s confident but that word just doesn’t seem to be enough. She has this self assurance that just puts you at ease, instantly grounding you to the present moment. I know it’s a cliche to say it was a magical interview but honest, it was! It’s always magical when someone can have you border-line crying in laughter (it’s only borderline because I was trying really hard to compose myself and also I was still internally freaking out) but also blow your mind with their very real opinion on life. If you don’t believe me then just go see for yourself. She has 2 shows both tonight and Saturday night at the Comedy Mix downtown. Stay tuned for the full interview!

Poetry Reimagined

Chances are that your first introduction to poetry included the classic works of William Shakespeare or some other great historical poet who, let’s be real, has long ago left the face of the Earth. So while I can appreciate these amazing poets and their work it’s not always the most ideal starter poet. In fact, in recent years poetry has been reimagined and many of these great present-day poets have flourished. People have really shown their appreciation for the art. One of the reasons I think people have been very receptive is due to the fact that the poetry is more relatable and it’s more in tune with the times. Poetry has actually evolved to the point that some of these modern poets go on tours and share their work live.

 

  • Rupi Kaur: Just last year Rupi Kaur has visited Vancouver twice to share her poetry with Vancouverites. This canadian poet has seen so much success in the most recent years with the release of her books Milk and Honey (2015) and The Sun and Her Flowers (2017).
  • Jhene Aiko Efuru Chilombo: After the release of her most recent album Trip, Jhene Aiko Efuru Chilombo released her first book 2Fish which is full of poems and short stories she has written over the years. Poetry is a very personal form of expression but this book takes it even further with hand-written copies of some of Chilombos work.

  • Alysia Harris: I first discovered Alysia Harris in a youtube video in which she was performing a spoken word poem. She does an exceptional job of telling a story through a sea of metaphors that to some may seem scattered but that’s kind of the beauty of it. I have yet to read her book How Much We Must Have Looked Like Stars to Stars but it was the winner of the 2015 New Women’s Voices Series.

  • Joshua Bennett: The day I stumbled upon Joshua Bennett was the day I fell in love with poetry again. He’s a master in his craft and his success is proof of just how talented he is. He has done several tours performing his poems live and sharing his thoughts in efforts to spread awareness on societal issues he is passionate about. His book The Sobbing School gives very deep look into both the historical and contemporary black experience.

 

These poets are just examples of how poetry can be used to make a change and how beautiful of an art it is.

Black Panther: The Album Review

Are you just as excited about the upcoming Black Panther movie? Yea, me too. My excitement for Black Panther has lead to me obsessing over everything and anything that has to do with Black Panther. It started off with reading some of the comics and as soon as Black Panther: The Album was released I listened to it non-stop for 3 days and no, I’m not even being extra this time around.

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler said he chose Kendrick Lamar to produce the album because he felt that Lamar’s “artistic themes align with those we explore in the film” and although I haven’t seen the movie yet, there’s no doubt in my mind Lamar was the right choice. All The Stars was the first single from the album to be released which features SZA and it basically set the bar quite high for the rest of the album. Shortly after, the music video was released and it proved that Coogler was right to choose Lamar as producer for the album.

The album is packed with amazing artists that I feel in one way or another fit the creative theme that the movie sets.

The album starts intense but quickly shifts into a smooth piano but don’t get too comfortable because just as quick as it went into the smooth piano it also quickly picks up tempo once again. The roller coaster of shifts between intense and smooth carry through the entirety of the first song which only amped me up more. Much like the intro, the rest of the songs all each have their own unique tempo. The lyrics also do a great job of tying Lamar and the other artists to the movie and the story line,

“Who am I? Not your father, not your brother
Not your reason, not your future
Not your comfort, not your reverence, not your glory
Not your heaven, not your angel, not your spirit
Not your message, not your freedom
Not your people, not your neighbor
Not your baby, not your equal
Not the title y’all want me under
All hail King Killmonger”
– Kendrick Lamar in King’s Dead

Another thing I loved was that each artist really put their own flavour into each song. Rather than just being another feature on the album, they really owned the song and made it their own. What I enjoy most about the album is that no two songs sound alike and yet the songs still flow well together. To find the perfect balance between fluidity and uniqueness is a challenge for some artists but Lamar was able to find that middle ground and it resulted in a masterpiece. The album does a great job of preparing you for what I am sure will be an extraordinary movie.