She creates. She is a creator of worlds.

One of my best friends in the entire world just published her first book.

CPR

It’s called Pedal.

And all of you should read it.

Because it is brilliant.

Today I sat down and read it in one sitting.

By the time I got to the last ten pages my heart was racing, and my face was flushed.

Upon turning the last page, I could no longer keep in my hot, fat tears – my heart swelling with unbridled happiness, with fierce incredulity, and overwhelming awe.

I first met Chelsea Rooney nine years ago in the fall of 2005 when were both admitted to UBC’s creative writing undergraduate program.

Right away I recognized her to be the most talented writer in our class. I’ll never forget reading her first short story in our fiction seminar. To say that I was blown away is a major understatement. I was so fascinated and moved by her writing that I read the entirety of her first workshopped story over the phone to my mother.

Her mastery of the written word left me galvanized and inspired. She made me want to produce magic of my own.

Besides (or perhaps because of) the beauty and depth of her prose, I was also enthralled with her as a person.

A couple of years my senior, she just seemed so epically cool.

I remember her showing up to class one day with one of the Styrofoam coffee cups from The Deli – a take-out eatery in the basement of the university’s student union building that offered a seemingly arbitrary cornucopia of pseudo-healthy options for the student on the run. Always one to buck the trends, my most frequent purchases at this establishment were hot chocolate and giant chocolate chip cookies.

I had just assumed that she too (along with everyone else in the world) would be drinking Deli hot chocolate. When she laughed gently and corrected me, stating that that she was, in fact, drinking coffee, I quaked.

Of course she would be drinking coffee. She was way too cool to drink hot chocolate.

She also wore long maxi skirts, and mid-drift baring tank tops, and eschewed bras, and make-up, and every time I looked at her I just thought, “I want to be just like her.”

While friends, we never really formally cemented our friendship until we both stayed on at UBC after completing our undergraduate degrees. She, as an MFA candidate in the writing program, and myself as  a political science MA.

We’d eat nachos and drink diet coke every Wednesday afternoon at the campus’ newly erected, and over-priced Irish bar.

We would sit in a corner table and laugh and laugh until our stomachs felt they might rip in two.

Five years on, we still do this.

Both laugh and eat nachos.

Only now we walk more.

And I drink coffee.

If I could tell you one thing (other than to purchase her book) it is that Chelsea has the most beautifully expressive eyes.

They reflect and refract the infinite wisdom and wonder that shape a magnificent human being.

I often find myself getting lost in their splendour, these wise, limpid pools of possibility.

And wonder what story will surface next.

CandV

Sisters are doing it for themselves

I have two sisters with whom I am desperately in love. Most of the time I miss them like a missing thing due to the fact that they both live miles and miles away and make their homes on the Canadian and American eastern seaboards.

But when we’re together it’s magic.

Which was why this past Christmas vacation was so brilliant – we had the chance to spend an extended amount of time together and really get up to some sisterly mischief.

It’s so crazy when I think about how similar we are in so many ways (our strong work ethic and passionate natures are two traits that immediately spring to mind), while at the same time being so, so different.

My older sister is the social justice champion; I am the academic drama queen; and my little sister is the business-minded chef.

And when I say that I am in awe of everything these two brilliant and beautiful women have achieved (and continue to achieve) it is no lie – these ladies are doing incredible, important, and brilliant things.

So whenever I get to witness these things in action, it pretty much blows my mind.

For instance, when we were in Halifax this past December, on Christmas Eve day I got to work in my little sister’s butcher shop and storefront – Highland Drive Storehouse: Butchery and Local Produce (she also runs a catering and cooking lesson business out of the store).

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She had given all her staff the day off (what a fab boss!) and in turn, recruited myself, M, my older sister Kate, and her fiancée to help out for the day.

It’s was a pretty bonkers, but brilliant shift, as we had many people coming in to pick up their turkey orders, as well as other last minute planners who were just desperate to procure something to cook for their family and friends, having forgot to request something in advance.

In the end we made sure that no one left empty handed, and I kid you not, for the entire day I was just swelling with pride to witness (and be a part of) all of the action.

I mean first – who gets to say that their little sister owns a butcher shop.

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This is pretty badass.

And then just to watch how amazing Jessi is with all of her customers; how much time and care she puts into providing a superior shopping experience – one that is equal parts positive, educative, and hilarious – whether it’s her relaxed banter with her regular shoppers (she easily recommends different cuts of meat and then offers up recipes for how to cook or prepare the dish) or the care she takes to speak with every new client who enters the store – she truly goes above and beyond to create a really fabulous atmosphere.

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Not to mention the fact that as she’s doing this, she is also making her own bacon and sausages, preparing orders, writing menus for her catering jobs, and coming up with easy, but delicious ideas for upcoming cooking lessons.

What can I say folks? The girl is a champ.

A TOTAL CHAMP.

So if you’re ever in the Halifax area, head over the Hydrostones (a fab historical district of the city) and check out Highland Drive Butchery and Produce.

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And when you get there, tell the beautiful proprietress that Ethel the Dean sent you.

And that she couldn’t be a prouder of her little sis.

Not even if she tried.

Shine bright like a diamond

Hey you beauty cats.

Holy smokes, today I am le tired.

Last night was stand-up comedy fest 2012 – aka my first time at the microphone in front of buckets and buckets of people – at it was AH-MAZE-ING.

Seriously, it one of the most brilliant nights of my life.

I ended up being the de facto headliner of the evening (as I was the last comic to perform) and I kind of want to say that I killed.

The audience laughed at all the right places (and at some bits that I never really considered all that funny), and even better, they laughed loudly.

I also had a number of other comics approach me after my set and ask me if I had ever done stand-up before (some actually thought I was a performer that my teacher had booked to close off the night).

So fair warning, I’m about two steps away from quitting my life and becoming a professional runner/stand-up comedian (although I should probably remain an amateur because that way I can compete in the stand-up comedy/running Olympics.)

Phew.

Fry-up time!

Shine on you crazy diamond.

So if you’ve been paying attention to any of this year’s holiday fashion trends you would know that sparkles are currently all the rage.

And as such, I feel like a crazed attention deficient hummingbird every time I enter a clothing store.

Everything is shimmering and glittering, and I want to try on each disco-ball inspired piece.

Just yesterday I was at Joe Fresh in hopes of procuring a sparkly skirt (one that I could wear to the myriad of Christmas parties and get togethers I have coming down the pipe over the next month) and I was near blinded by an absolute deluge of sparkle.

Talk about sensory overload.

I did end up purchasing a lovely little number (I am kicking myself for not snapping a photo, but will be sure to take one this weekend) that is absolutely perfect, with just the right amount of glitz and glam.

In the mean time, check out these nails:

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Oh baby.

Next!

I’d stop the world and melt with you.

I don’t always cheese on toast.

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But when I do, I cheese on toast with two kinds of cheese.

Sharp cheddar. Parmesan.

Oh baby.

Out of a canon.

I spent the summer after my second year of undergrad in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

It’s an absolutely brilliant city and I urge you all to go should you ever get the chance.

One of my jobs was working the front door at a fab little bar/restaurant down at the waterfront, on the nights they had bands or performers playing.

The nub and gist of my position was the more people I could convince to stay and pay cover, the more money I would take home at the end of the night.

Now when I say I loved my job, I am not lying. Above and beyond the fact that I made a crap ton of money (due to my oustanding powers of coercion), I got to listen to amazing music pretty much every night that I worked.

In particular, there was always one musician who – week in and week out – continually knocked my socks off.

Ladies and gents, may I present to you –

Matt Andersen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unh4gbcanoI

Most of his stuff is much bluesier, but I cannot tell a lie, I’m digging this foray into the country tunes.

It gets me fired up.

Oh baby.

So there you have it you crazy loons.

I will post the link to my stand-up set on Youtube as soon as it is uploaded.

In the mean time, enjoy your weekends, eat some cheese and toast, and be your brilliant, beautiful, bonkers selves.

Because goodness knows, you’re what makes the world go round.