Wanted: One Travel Companion

If you could travel with one person, who would it be?


Anthony Bourdain.jpg

Seriously, who else was I going to choose? Anthony Bourdain travels without fear, a quality that I'm only beginning to learn and execute. He would take me to the best local eateries, we'd have access to some of the highest quality restaurants in the world and he would be FUN. I would risk food poisoning for a whirlwind "Parts Unknown" adventure with Bourdain.


When Jane first proposed this topic, it took me a while to make a list of all the people I'd love to travel with. In the end, I had to narrow it down to two, because I just couldn't decide!

If I was doing a food-inspired trip, I'd want to travel with Jamie Oliver. Not only would I get into basically every restaurant in the world, but I'd also learn the process and history behind most of the dishes for a fully immersive experience. Sure I'd come home 200 pounds heavier, but I'd be super satisfied. (Fun fact: I once met Jamie Oliver in real life and he was a delight. I bet he'd be a fantastic companion!).

And if I was traveling with the intention of becoming more cultured - museums and galleries and historical monuments and such - I'd tag along after David Tennant. First of all, he could narrate everything to me in his glorious accent, and I'd learn SO MUCH while being immeasurably entertained. And second of all, it would fulfill my current dream of being the Doctor's companion! (He wouldn't have to wear a pinstripe suit, though. Unless he wanted to.)

Unpopular Opinions

"If you like Thing A, of course you must be into Thing B." People sometimes make assumptions that we like something based on previous experience, but we're here to give you some of our unpopular opinions - stuff we're not really into, despite what you may think. 

(Our thumbnail comes from the popular but occasionally offensive Unpopular Opinion Puffin meme). 


Even though I'm a YA novel buff, I have to confess that there's a handful of popular YA authors/books that I haven't read yet...and don't plan on picking up any time soon. When I say "YA", people immediately ask me about The Hunger Games. Unfortunately for them, I haven't read The Hunger Games, and they're nowhere near the top of my To Read list because dystopia has never been my favourite genre. I also haven't read John Green, or the rest of the Divergent series (I read the first one, then guessed how the trilogy would end, so really, what's the point?), and don't really think I'll get around to reading them in the next couple of years. 


Mad Max Fury Road1.jpg

I really, truly wanted to like Mad Max: Fury Road. When it came out, it's all anyone was talking about. Conceptually, it seemed right up my alley: badass feminists taking out an archaic, evil patriarchal system, awesome chase scenes, a sexy male lead... but after all is said and done, I left the movie theatre not quite understanding what the big fuss was. I still don't know, over two years later.

Our Favourite Instagram Accounts

We may spend a lot of time scrolling through other people's instagram feeds, so we figured we'd make a list of some of our favourites!



Though I've never actually purchased anything from Beauty Bakerie, their Instagram game is to die for with their amazing looking Lip Whips.


I mean... it's an obvious choice but there's a reason why this account has almost 8 million followers. It's delightful and never fails to put a smile on my face.


The prettiest damn macarons on Instagram, anytime I see those blushing unicorns I get excited. I can only imagine how long it takes to make only one of these but luckily all I have to do is enjoy the view.


A beautiful tattoo Instagram, full of gorgeous art and incredible tattooing.



If there's one thing I love, it's looking at pictures of my favourite city (and weeping silently). This feed is all pretty photos in and around London, from brightly coloured doorways to classic shots of Big Ben to bakeries that I need to find the next time I'm there.


Of all the #bookstagram accounts out there, Folded Pages Distillery is gorgeous. Such attention to detail, plus her captions often include mini reviews of the featured book. Aesthetically pleasing and useful!


It delivers exactly what it promises: attractive men reading in public (usually on some form of transportation). Come from the chiseled jaws, stay for the pun-tastic captions. 


She doesn't post as often as most of the other accounts I follow, but it's always comedy gold (and #sorelatable). 

Squeeing Saturday - February 2017

February was a short month, but we still had time to squee over some things.


Song: Bad Behavior – The Maine

I love it when The Maine releases new music. LOVE IT. I was lucky enough to hear them play this at 8123 Fest last month (nope, still not done talking about it), and it was amaaaaazing. 

Podcast: Welcome to Night Vale

I’m slowly getting into Welcome to Night Vale, though I haven’t yet figured out how to multitask while listening to a podcast, so I’m only a few episodes in. But it’s intriguing, and some of their original songs are glorious. 

Show: The IT Crowd

I know Jane has mentioned it before, but I never got around to watching The IT Crowd until a couple of weeks ago and I LAUGHED SO HARD.

Book Series: The Raven Cycle – Maggie Stiefvater

I have to wait until September for The Raven King to come out in paperback but I just want to know how it all ends!!!!!


Video Game: Night in the Woods

I literally only started this game two days ago but I'm completely obsessed with the story, the aesthetic and everything it chooses to be. It's a beautiful and weird game about a college dropout which has no right being as enjoyable as it is.

Book: Kitchen Confidential - Anthony Bourdain

I blasted through this gastronomic book all about an inside baseball look at the culinary world. 

TV: The Good Fight

I never finished The Good Wife but I'm already head over heels for its spin-off The Good Fight . I always preferred Diane to Alicia and I'm so glad we get to have a show where Christine Baranski can really shine.

Reject Room #1

For all the pop culture we consume between the two of us, every so often we come across something that we just can’t get into, no matter how hard we try. So in the first of our recurring Reject Room posts, let us tell you about something we’ve had to abandon recently. 



When I was a kid, I collected Archie comics. I cherished my time with the Riverdale crowd, even having my dad print out comics to send me when I was at camp (apparently this was easier than buying the digests themselves). I really wanted to like the new CW series based off of my favourite redhead, but I couldn't get past the first 10 minutes. The dialogue was ridiculous, everything was hyper-sexualized and completely overdramatic. I get that it's a new take on an old favourite, but this take is not for me.


The OA

I’ve been hearing a lot about this show, and it was being pushed as a Stranger Things for adults adventure, so I decided to give it a chance. I lasted all of one episode before I gave up. For one thing, the pacing is SO SLOW (the opening credits don’t even appear until (literally) 57 minutes in, by which point I’d pretty much forgotten what I was there for); the characters are all pretty awful (I’m sure they get better, but when?); and, my main reason for watching it (Jason Isaacs) wasn’t even in the first episode, so I felt betrayed. My friend spoiled the last episode for me - at my request - and I’m SO GLAD I gave up on it because the ending is laughable. 

Infinity On High Track-by-Track Review

Yet another album from our youth is turning 10 this year (in fact, it officially turned 10 on the 6th), so we're celebrating Fall Out Boy's iconic Infinity on High


S: Before he was impregnating his wife with twins, Jay-Z was featured on a Fall Out Boy song. #topical Real talk, though, I LOVE the heavy drumming in this song, it soothes my soul in the weirdest way. And I promise you every teenaged FOB fan scrawled “LONG LIVE THE CAR CRASH HEARTS” onto a notebook at some point. 

J: Perfect way to start this album. The Jay-Z intro, the Patrick wailing incomprehensible words, the pounding of the drums, it's fantastic. It wakes you up and gets you wanting more.

The Take Over, The Breaks Over

S: Speaking of cameos – that Ryan Ross guitar solo made my Panic! at the Disco fangirl heart beat faster (faster). But I absolutely love this song – the clapping and the “flash flash flash photography” line...it’s so boppy and catchy. 

J: I feel like I never really gave this song a chance because I don't really love the intro, but it's actually quite good. 

This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race

S: Really, what can I say about this song. Classic FOB, a staple in their live shows, a prime example of Patrick Stump’s ability to slur words together...it’s magnificent. 

J: I still get a kick out of this song, perfect for audience participation and I will definitely be screaming "doot doot doot" along with it.

I'm Like a Lawyer with the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off (Me + You)

S: This song is standard FOB: clever wordplay in the lyrics, a slinky bass line, and a ridiculously long title.  Always fun to belt out in the most dramatic way possible.

J: I always forget that I love this song. I find that there are often plenty of FOB songs with kinda meh verses but killer choruses and this song is one of them. 

Hum Hallelujah

S: MY JAM. Easily one of my favourite FOB songs of all time, I love every second of “Hum Hallelujah” and will literally drop everything to sing along to it. Side note: it took me far longer than I care to admit to learn that they sampled Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. 

J: This is a super fun track, no doubt about it. I won't actively seek it out but if it comes on, I will rock out to it.


S: Slow FOB songs are rarely my favourite, and I’ve never been emotionally attached to this one. Patrick sounds as glorious as he always does, but it just doesn’t mean anything to me. It’s also a bit of letdown because it’s shoved in between two of the album’s highlights (in my opinion).

J: Another example of kind of weak verses but a really great chorus. I quite like this track, despite it's slow tempo  amid an album, so far, of bangers.

Thnks fr th Mmrs

S: Gah, that intro still holds up so well after ten years (though admittedly that might be influenced by nostalgia). This is another classic FOB jam, something that gets the crowd moving at shows, and I love the strings in the background, which adds a touch of theatre. Speaking of theatre: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the video and how it a) features a pre-fame Kim K and b) a cross-over with the TAI video for “We’ve Got a Big Mess on Our Hands”.

J: Another massive hit. Fun, full of energy and has withstood the test of time.

Don't You Know Who I Think I Am?

S: I genuinely forgot what this song sounded like, but as soon as it started I remembered all the words. It’s a fine tune, but I think the first half of the album is packed with so many bangers, this one gets sort of lost in the shuffle. 

J: The problem with so many FOB songs is that I literally can never remember what any of them are called. I super love this song but I doubt I would know what to search if I wanted to listen to it again.

The (After) Life of the Party

S: Slower, but not as slow as “Golden”, this song is dramatic FOB at their best. When the percussion kicks in after thirty seconds...*kisses fingers* beautiful.

J: This song is great and once again, I forgot what it was called. 

The Carpal Tunnel of Love

S: I thought I was so HARDCORE because I liked Pete Wentz’ unclean vocals at the end of this song and my friends didn’t. (I was not, nor will I ever be, as hardcore as I wish I was).  It’s super angsty, but so enjoyable. And a great stepping stone for getting into actual metal music!

J: Really not my favourite track (and I'm definitely one of those people who didn't love the screaming at the end). This one's pretty forgettable.

Bang the Doldrums

S: Similar to “Don’t You Know Who I Think I Am”, this is a perfectly good song, and has such intricate instrumentation,  but I’m not sure if I’ve ever listened to it on its own, outside of the album

J: ... I like the pirate yo-hoing in the chorus. That's about it.


S: I’m realizing that I don’t really have strong opinions on the latter half of this album. Again, good song, great lyrics, impressive showings from Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley...but it doesn’t hit me in the feels at all. It’s a head-bopper, though. 

J: The album is really starting to drag for me now. It could have been cut in half and I would have been okay with it.

You're Crashing, But You're No Wave

S: I actually thought this was a bonus track until I re-listened to the album for this post. So that’s interesting. Patrick sounds so different at the beginning, and I think that’s Butch Walker providing backing vocals, but it’s sort of meh, to be honest. 

J: Patrick's voice is truly beautiful in this because we rarely get him in a lower register but again, another forgettable one.

I've Got All This Ringing in My Ears and None on My Fingers

S: The best part of this song is the horn section and the pounding piano and Patrick’s soulful voice in the chorus. Otherwise I just barely register it. It’s a good closer because it has energy, but again, I think the first half of the album was a lot stronger. 

J: Meh. Weak closer. 


Books to Curl Up With on a Winter's Day

We read no matter what the weather's like, but some books are just made to curl up with during the cold Canadian winters. 


The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

My favourite book of all time can always make me feel nice and warm on a cold winter's day. It doesn't matter how many times I read it, I will always find something new to appreciate and laugh out loud at. 

New York Times Magazine

Not technically a book, but my main source of reading lately is diving into my pile of New York Times Magazines. I love the long-form articles and it can be nice to still be informed but not be completely overwhelmed and depressed were I to dive into the newspaper counterpart.

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

There's nothing quite like a steaming mug of tea or coffee and being bundled up reading a classic. Whether it's Jane Austen or Jane Eyre, there's a certain delight from reading a good, old book on a cold, blustery day.



The Buckshaw Chronicles - Alan Bradley

There's something about Alan Bradley's precocious 12 year old protagonist Flavia de Luce that makes me think of the winter. They could be considered cozy mysteries, and Flavia will make you laugh and (sometimes) cry and overall leave you with a warm feeling. 

The Parasol Protectorate - Gail Carriger

I've only read the first two books so far, but Gail Carriger's supernatural series is charming fluff that will keep you entertained despite the blizzard going on outside your window. Grab a nice cup of tea and settle down on your comfiest couch for a fun frolic with Alexia Tarabotti and her werewolf-y friends. 

Peter Pan - J.M. Barrie

I believe it takes place around Christmas time, but, either way, there's something so winter about Peter Pan. It's a straight up dose of escapism (heck yeah, I want to go to Neverland!), and I personally find children's books so soothing during the cold months (actually, I read children's books year round, but winter always seems like a good time to revisit old favourites). 

Squeeing Saturday - January 2017

Here's what we were into this month!


Phrase: "Fingers on Lips"

David Tennant shouting “FINGERS ON LIPS” is my new favourite thing. Maybe you have to see it to understand it, so please watch the video above.

Actor: Taron Egerton

I watched Kingsman on Christmas (so much bloodier than I anticipated) and my main takeaway was “who's the dude rocking a suit better than Colin Firth?” (sacrilege, I know). I'm also super into his accent, as evidenced by my appreciation for Johnny the gorilla in Sing...and his singing voice is not too shabby. 

Entrance Scene: Jim Moriarty

Speaking of dudes who can rock suits...'sup, Andrew Scott? This is somewhat spoiler-y if you haven't watched the Sherlock season finale yet, but my gosh, what an entrance!!! I've been shrieking over this scene for two weeks and I probably won't stop any time soon. Also, if you're not already following @moriartyenterto, you're missing out!!!!

Movie: La La Land

Dudes who rock suits part 3: Canadian edition, aka hello, Ryan Gosling. This movie was adorable and whimsical and made my sister cry (fine, I'll admit that I teared up too). And that soundtrack!!

Band: The Maine

8123 MEANS EVERYTHING TO ME. I'll talk about this more next week for Music Monday, but man, I love The Maine so much <3 


TV Show: Sweet/Vicious

I watched this entire series within a day. It is incredible and is really giving MTV-produced fictional content a good name. 

Magazine: The New Yorker

I got a subscription to the paper edition of The New Yorker (because I needed even more things to read) and I'm thoroughly enjoying myself. 

Song: "I Wanna Get Better" - Bleachers

I hadn't listened to Bleachers in awhile but in a pretty pivotal scene in the aforementioned Sweet/Vicious, the protagonists dance and sing along to "I Wanna Get Better" which reminded me of how much I love that track and the entire Bleachers album "Strange Desire."


We The Kings Track-by-Track Review

A lot of albums we jammed in high school are turning 10 this year (in case you were wondering how old we are), so we'll probably spend some time on the ones that really stood out to us. First up: We the Kings' self-titled debut. 

Secret Valentine

J: Great way to start the album, full of high energy and whiny pop-punk imagery like "we're finally intertwined" and "this is the moment that we become alive."

S: I always really liked this song, and it is basically the ubiquitous We the Kings song: a pop-rock-y tune about a girl. Not a bad intro to their sound or to this album. 

Skyway Avenue

J: This song is so melodramatic but I love it, like I would dead-ass have loved someone to sing this to me as a 16 year-old (well... my ideal 16 year-old self would have loved it. My neurotic af actual 16 year-old self would probably have run away). 

S: Travis Clark tries to hit such high notes in the chorus and it’s a little strained, but he sounds so earnest. This is such a dramatic song (“I would die for you on Skyway Avenue”), but it could soundtrack just about any YA novel written in that same time period, so clearly they were onto some trend. 

Check Yes Juliet

J: This song still makes me so happy. When going through my hard drive to play this song, I found a PhotoShopped image of all the lyrics to this song in totally rad fonts (ahem, not) that I apparently made when I was 18, which was a very high honour for any song for me at the time. This is We The Kings at their finest. 

S: This is the jammiest jam to ever exist and if you tell me you’ve never once screamed along to it, I’ll assume you’re either a) a lying liar or b) younger than 20. It’s still so good, and I have an oddly vibrant memory of the first time I heard it (coming out of my grade 12 biology class, listening to it through my friend’s headphones because she told me she had a really good song she wanted me to hear). Not gonna lie, it’s my favourite part of seeing WTK live, because the crowd goes nuts for it. 

Stay Young

S: They went for a heavier sound on this tune (the bass, at least, is more aggressive than the previous three songs), and it sounds like it was written expressly for a live performance – the chorus has an anthemic quality and it would absolutely get the crowd up and moving. 

J: Sam nailed it by saying that the song really feels like it was written to be performed live, with audience participation during the "scream it like you mean it" chorus. It is a fun track, but not one that sticks out in my head as top WTK.


S: I’ll be honest: most of the time, when I listen to this album, I only really pay attention to the first four songs and then everything else sort of blurs together. This is still a good song, but nothing really special. Catchy “whoas” in the chorus, though. 

J: Sam says it right again, this kind of blends and blurs and I can easily skip past. It almost sounds a bit like "Secret Valentine" in its verses but a less well conceived version. 

August is Over

J: This starts off differently than the other tracks and it feels Dashboard Confessional-ly which I am always in for. I had pretty much forgot about this song but listening to it again, it's actually pretty great. 

S: I like that this song starts off a little slower – you almost expect it to be a ballad of some sort, but then it builds up in the pre-chorus and lets loose. A real head-bopper, the drums really stand out in this one. 

The Quiet

S: I genuinely can’t remember this song. The rest of the tracklist, I can at least bring to mind a chorus or a lyrical phrase, but even the title of this one leaves me miffed. I swear this is the first time I’m hearing it – not bad, but nothing special. Great bassline, though. 

J: Yeah, this is not a memorable song. It's pretty generic pop-punk. If I was to list the songs of this album, I would likely forget this one. I do enjoy the chorus a fair bit, but that's about it. 

Don't Speak Liar

J: Now this is a song I have no memory of. I can vaguely pick out the chorus but that's it. It's not great. 

S: Again, a song that’s closer to a ballad. It’s a softer sound up the chorus which sounds as angry as We the Kings gets (on this album, at least).

Headlines Read Out

J: Cobra Starship in that synth intro, which I do quite enjoy but really this back half of this album is really nothing special. They knock it out of the park with the first five tracks and then it's just blended whininess. 

S: OH MY GOSH, that intro. It’s SOOO 2007 to have that electronic (synth?) intro that has nothing to do with the rest of the song. Probably the most dated song on the album, in terms of sound. 

All Again for You

J: Okay, I take it back, I actually really like this song. Again, something I would be okay with a teenage boy singing to me (as a teenage girl, not as a 26 year-old bitter woman). 

S: I’m sure if I actually listened to the words, I’d find some deep meaning in this song, but sonically, its structure is very similar to “Don’t Speak Liar”, so it’s probably one of the reasons why the last half of this album blends together for me. 

This Is Our Town

J: I mean... I guess it's a rite of passage for every pop-punk band to write a song about their "town" but this is a bit of a downer to end the album on. This would have been better stuck in the middle with the album ending with a banger.

S: I vaguely remember this song being used in promos for One Tree Hill (fun fact: I actually didn’t start watching One Tree Hill until the series was almost over) and it does fit perfectly. The only true ballad, it’s interesting that they chose to end the album with something so slow and emotional, but the piano part is lovely and you gotta give them points for passion. 


Since we both saw the new animated movie Sing (though, regrettably, not together), we've decided to give you our thoughts on this animal-full musical adventure. 


I saw this with my nieces (who are actually in the target audience age range) and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. We'd also seen Zootopia together last year, and if you're worried that the two movies are copies of each other, don't be. Zootopia spent a lot of time building up the animal world so that it would make sense to us, while Sing just throws us right into the story about a down-on-his-luck koala (Matthew McConaughey, who didn't sound like Matthew McConaughey) trying to make his crumbling theatre a success again by holding a singing competition. Is it a predictable story? Yes. But is it still heart-warming and enjoyable? Heck yes!

Unlike most Disney movies, there's more of an ensemble cast and less a focus on just one character. Buster Moon (the koala) is arguably the protagonist, but there's a lot of time spent on the contestants. There's not a lot of character development, but they have distinctive personalities and separate story lines that give you a glimpse at what kind of people - er, animals - they are outside of the competition. My nieces were all about the female contestants, of course (they're always down for a character voiced by Scarlett Johansson), but I'm enamoured of Taron Egerton's accent, so Johnny the gorilla was my favourite. It won't win any awards for complicated plot, but the idea of pursuing your dreams in the face of adversity is always a good one to explore (and so satisfying when the dreams are then achieved). 

Don’t let fear stop you from doing the thing you love.
— Buster Moon

Plus the soundtrack is pretty darn catchy, so that's reason enough to check it out, in my opinion. 


Like Sam, I saw this movie with some youngin's which always brings a new perspective to "children's movies" as opposed to me watching Zootopia or Moana on my own and weeping softly to myself. It took me awhile to get into Sing, mostly because it seemed to lack focus and did not stay long enough on any one character to give us enough of a story or hook. Pretty much every "main" character felt like a passing extra who we were only given a glimpse into, which ended up making their storylines feel simplistic, predictable and under-developed. 

That being said, it is a fun movie. There is one scene in particular that had me crying with laughter, when Buster seems to have lost it all and goes back to his first job: car washing... with his body. It was perfectly executed with his best friend, a sheep, working as a shammy. The message of the film is commendable: don't give up on your dreams even when it seems like the odds are against you. The soundtrack, as Sam so rightly says, is catchy as hell, with tracks spanning the decades from Elton John to Taylor Swift. It's also so beautiful. Animated features continue to blow my mind, technologically, and this film from Illumination is no exception. 

As we exit 2016, I think it's a good idea to take a page out of Johnny's book in one of my favourite performances of the film. 

Our Resolutions in 2017

It's time for us to make some resolutions again - here's what we've decided to work on this year!


Instead of attempting to make resolutions that will inevitably get broken, and become a "new year, new me", I am going to take a page out of Myisha Battle's book and say, "stay me, but better." This year, it's not about new goals, but continuation and expansion of current ones.

1) Continue to exercise and increase my strength

Going to boot camp twice a week is something I look forward to on a daily basis. Despite outward appearances, I am actually pretty strong, and I'm damn proud of it. I'm looking forward to getting even stronger as my endurance and stamina increases throughout the year, as it did in 2016.

2) Keep reading as much as I can, about as many people as I can

As a white woman, I can only relate to certain experiences and that has often been reflected in the books that I read. I want to read more about the world and those with different experiences than my own.

3) Continue to expand my social horizons

There are a lot of people in this city and some of them are quite cool. I've joined a book club for the first time in my life to a) read more books but b) meet new and interesting people. 


Apart from "healthy" resolutions (exercising more, cutting down on my chocolate intake, etc), I'm once more looking to improve myself on a cultural level. 

1) Spend less time on social media

Since I spend 8 hours in a department store (for work, obvs, not for fun), I don’t actually have my phone on me for most of the day. Which just means that I end up glued to the screen at lunch and once I get home. I waste hours scrolling through the various feeds, and I need to cut that time down...and not just because it eats up my data. 

2) Broaden my musical horizons

I say this every year: I want to listen to more bands outside of my default genres (anything that would fall under the “pop-punk” umbrella, basically). More Canadian bands, more female-fronted bands...heck, I’m even willing to try country, just to see what the hype is all about.

3) Make a dent in my TBR pile

I HAVE SO MANY BOOKS that I haven’t read yet, but I keep buying more??? I need to work on finishing the ones I already own (or the ones my sister owns that I want to read) before committing to more purchases. 

4) Read more graphic novels

I read a handful of graphic novels in the last week and a half of 2016, and I really enjoyed the experience...but I’m by no means an expert on the medium, so I’d like to explore it some more (I've heard, for example, amazing things about Saga for a variety of people so that's high on my list). Thus, graphic novels are the only exception to my "I have to read the books I own before I buy new books" rule!

Best of 2016

It's almost 2017 (thankfully), which means it's time for us to countdown the best of 2016!!


Best Album: Blush - Moose Blood / Death of a Bachelor - Panic! at the Disco

Objectively speaking, Moose Blood's sophomore effort was PERFECTION (I literally gave it 10/10), but my bae, Brendon Urie, released an album too (and was nominated for a Grammy!), so I had to give them both a shout out.

Best Concert: Warped Tour Chicago

Best Video: "Missing You" - All Time Low

Best Book: A Gathering of Shadows - V.E. Schwab

Everyone thinks I have a death wish, you know? But I don’t want to die - dying is easy. No, I want to live, but getting close to death is the only way to feel alive. And once you do, it makes you realize that everything you were actually doing before wasn’t actually living. It was just making do. Call me crazy, but I think we do the best living when the stakes are high.

Best New-to-Me TV Show: Brooklyn Nine-Nine


Best Album: Hamilton Soundtrack

This was by far my most consistently listened to album, and I'm still not sick of it.

Best Podcast: Reply All

I wrote all about the podcasts that I listened to throughout the year over here, and just how many minutes of my year I dedicated to them. I think, however, my top listen of the year, was probably Reply All. It's a show about the Internet, but it's not about technology. It consistently got better and better and ended the year with an astounding hour and 46 minute episode about a 48-hour open conference line. 

Best Way to End the Year: The Big Fat Quiz of the Year, 2016

Best Book: Shrill - Lindy West

Check out the review here!

Check out the review here!

Best Video Game: Uncharted 4

Check out the review here!

Check out the review here!

Best Trip: Japan

Write-up is here!

Write-up is here!

Squeeing Saturday - December 2016

Merry Christmas Eve! Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, we're wishing you happy holidays...and encouraging you to check out whatever it is we've been obsessed with for the past month!


Podcast: "Homecoming"


Gimlet Media has had a good year. They've expanded and created lots of new and innovative shows, one of which is "Homecoming." A radio drama in the podcasting world is difficult to pull off, but with amazing writers, a compelling story and a star-studded cast (including Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac and David Schwimmer), a hit can be made. It's a fantastic binge-listen, will leave you on the edge of your seat, desperately craving more. 

Article of Clothing - Ugg Adirondack II Boots

After getting my ankles sliced up for the last time in my winter boots, I decided I needed a new pair. I do live in Canada after all, and I'm currently in Montreal, on my way to Ottawa, where boots would be a necessity. I went over to the Bay to hopefully pick up a pair on sale, but as my father often says, "the poor man always pays twice," and with winter boots, I knew if I paid a little, I'd suffer a lot. I somehow got roped into buying boots that were full-price, and Uggs no less, but they are the comfiest my feet have felt in a long time, and I never want to ever take them off. 

Cosmetics: Urban Decay - Heavy Metal

Heavy Metal.jpg

I love sparkles. I love things that glitter. I like putting glittery, sparkly things on my face. I don't care that it makes me look like I'm twelve, I don't care that I can't apply it correctly, Urban Decay Heavy Metal gets swiped across my lids and I feel like a fairy princess.


Old(ish) Song: “Loving Someone” - The 1975

I knew of the song before I saw The 1975 in November (for the fifth time!), but I didn’t realize just how good it was until I heard it live. My whole aesthetic right now is built around the way Matty says “whatever” in the second verse. 

New Song: “Swear” - You Me At Six

I just need it to be January 6th so that I can get my hands on the new YMAS album, Night People

Book: Carry On – Rainbow Rowell

After reading (and loving!) Fangirl in October, I was dying to get my hands on a copy of the companion book, Carry On, and OH MY GLOB, I loved it. Not only is Baz magnificent, but I also really related to Rowell’s description of Simon’s best friend, Penelope Bunce. 

Collectible: Dapper Jack

I kept promising myself I wouldn’t buy any The Nightmare Before Christmas Funkos because it would be a slippery slope and I’d be poor by the end of the month, but then my Hot Topic started carrying the exclusive Jack in full Victorian garb and I just could not resist a mashup of some of my favourite things. 

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

As you may know, we're both fans of Gilmore Girls, so, naturally, we were all over the revival and we have a lot of Thoughts and Feelings. 

BEFORE YOU GO ON, KNOW THAT THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD (and a lot of capital letters, from Sam at least). 



Sam: A solid start to the revival. There were a couple of references to how long it’s been since the last time the girls made an appearance on our screens, and a lot of familiar faces. More importantly, it gave us the set up for the revival: I’m glad they paid such a touching homage to Richard aka Edward Herrmann. I thought it was interesting that they chose to reveal the funeral in a flashback – I can think of only one other episode where flashbacks were used so it wasn’t a common tool in the GG repertoire. I know Logan isn’t the most stand-up guy, but he is my favourite of Rory’s beaus, and Logan in a London flat is basically the dream. Super-proud Luke is precious and Paris continues to be the most badass lady of them all (she is actually the best thing about this revival, let’s be real). Oh, and thanks to the Palladinos for finally confirming what I always suspected: Michel is gay (and now married!). 

Jane: I enjoyed the quote montage that led us into our return to Stars Hollow (though some were a little... strange) and I can't deny the fuzzy feeling I got once I saw that gazebo in the middle of the town which revealed our protagonist. With each episode being 90 minutes long (and not always a lean 90 minutes), and the fact that I watched them all pretty simultaneously, it's likely that I'm already meshing episodes together. The main thing that I took away from this episode was that FINALLY Emily said what we had all been thinking during the 7 original seasons of Gilmore Girls: Lorelai is selfish, only does what's in her best interest, and the weird obsession that the entirety of Stars Hollow has for her is just that... weird. It was a fantastic scene, that played out in flashback form after Richard's funeral, and thrilling acting turns from both Lauren Graham and Kelly Bishop.


Sam: Team Paris all the way in this episode. She’s such a magnificent character, and she makes me laugh SO MUCH (her delivery is just A+). I would watch an entire series about Paris going around kicking butts and taking names. Lorelai’s story-line was a bit of a downer because a) there’s so much arguing between her and Queen Emily and b) SHE AND LUKE ARE KEEPING SECRETS FROM EACH OTHER AGAIN BECAUSE APPARENTLY THEY DON’T LEARN???!?!!? They’ve been together steadily for nearly a decade but it’s still cool for them to lie to each other about the important things in life??? Don’t they remember what happened in season six????? Speaking of not learning...if Logan is engaged, why does Rory insist on keeping up their affair??? Doesn’t she remember what happened with Dean or is she trying to make a name for herself as a homewrecker??? Also, maybe Rory's career is failing because she doesn't know how to pitch a story to a potential employer? And hasn't she figured out how to fake enthusiasm for a job she doesn't really want (she can't whine about not having a job if she doesn't put any effort into finding one)?  As a writer, I find Rory’s career path super frustrating; she has a ton of people vying for her attention and offering her experience, if not a full-time job, AND SHE KEEPS TURNING THEM DOWN. I get that she’s holding out for a dream job, but if the editor of a huge magazine asked me to work for them, I’d throw myself at their feet SO FAST.

Jane: God, Rory's storyline. ALKJFLDKJLAJLKDJFS. She is given a fucking rad assignment, to talk about lineups in New York City, why people do them, what are they lining up for, what if they're not lining up for anything at all, and she falls asleep???

She doesn't take her job (or lack thereof) seriously, and it's completely and utterly frustrating. I completely agree with what Sam said above, lots of capitalization and all, re: Lorelai and Luke's lack of communication, which is what brought about their downfall initially in the original series run.

Paris remains amazing. I'm sad about her and Doyle. I hope they can work it out.


Sam: UGH, THIS EPISODE WAS SUCH A WASTE OF TIME. Spending 20 minutes on a musical is something that would have worked in a full-length season where you could afford filler episodes. But when you have six hours to get your story across...it was useless and did absolutely nothing to further the plot. Lorelai could have heard that last song literally anywhere else and it could have had the same effect on her, so what was the point of making us sit through the whole musical? I really liked the secret bar, but since that's where Michel broke the news that he was leaving, it was a bit of a downer. Because Paris wasn’t in this episode, I think Lane might have been the best secondary character to make an appearance (how great is it that she works at Kim’s Antiques?)...after Jess, whose reunion with Luke was the brightest highlight of this 90-minute trainwreck. 

Jane: So... I loved the musical? I don't know why. It was insane, it was ridiculous, IT WAS SO LONG, but I loved it. Sutton Foster and Christian Borle are national treasures and I couldn't get enough. What I didn't love was most everything else. I hated the fat-shaming at the pool, I hated that they had those two little boys acting as their servants, I hated... well I just really didn't love this episode. Jess and Luke were beautiful and I held on for them but really, this one was not satisfactory.


Sam: I’m getting it out of the way right now: I had a feeling about what the last four words would be, and I was close (I pegged the words on the wrong girl) - full frickin' circle, indeed. Other than that, this episode was a thousand times better than “Summer”, even though it was a slow start and I was a little worried it would suck. But we finally got our Sookie cameo (such an amazing woman), and I 100% teared up during Luke’s speech. I was also dangerously close to sobbing when they were eloping and Sam Phillips’ “Reflecting Light “ was playing in the background (the same song they danced to at Liz and TJ’s wedding in one of my ALL TIME FAVOURITE GG episodes, “Last Week Fights, This Week Tights”)...but their marriage seemed a little anti-climactic, since we didn’t get to see everyone else’s reactions. All I wanted was a panning shot of Stars Hollow, sweeping over the townsfolk as they milled around the gazebo, drinking and laughing and celebrating the greatest romance their little community has ever seen. And even though I don’t agree with Logan still wooing Rory while he’s engaged, the steampunk-y vibe of their final Life & Death Brigade outing was delightful (though the time spent on Colin, Finn, and the other random guy could probably have been put to use on other characters). OH AND I really like how Jess and Luke’s relationship has grown, but I’m not completely sold on Jess still pining for Rory like she’s the protagonist of a stereotypical YA novel (as someone who reads a dozen stereotypical YA novels a year, I know what I’m talking about). 

But also, can I get a hell yeah for Emily Gilmore completely turning her life around? I live for Kelly Bishop spitting the word “bullshit” at a bunch of snobby women. 

Jane: What the everloving fuck was that Life and Death Brigade bullshit? The fact that it wasn't a dream sequence, made it even more implausible and ANNOYING. I do not care for your privileged, rich escapades, Colin and Finn, begone with you. And sorry... Wild? Lorelai. You know what you need? It isn't to go traipsing through an intense hike on the West Coast. IT IS COMMUNICATION. GOD DAMN. WHEN WILL THEY LEARN???? Yes, eventually she gets on track, and tells that beautiful Richard story to Emily, and then she comes back home, and Luke and her FINALLY get married, and it's all good, and then we get those stupid last four words and everything is derailed again. Emily's story-arc was a highlight throughout the whole series (despite it being completely out of character) and I'm happy to see where she ended up. 


Sam: I could probably talk for hours about all the little things I didn’t agree with and all the things I thought were cute, but I’m going to stop talking here and just ask you a bunch of questions that I’d really like the answers to:

  • how could Rory afford to fly back and forth from London to Connecticut/New York if she couldn’t even afford to buy underwear?
  • why did she insist on sending her stuff to multiple places instead of just home (either Lorelai’s or Emily’s)? I get that she was just squatting at everyone’s houses (I don’t understand why she’d need to stay at Lane’s if she’s in Stars Hollow, though), but how would she have had outfits for every occasion in every box??
  • if the Dragonfly wasn’t making enough money to expand and the dining room was always empty...how/why would they get celebrity chefs to work the pop-up kitchen?
  • is Taylor gay??? I never considered that before but it seems to make sense now that I’ve thought about it
  • why were tertiary townsfolk like Gypsy (and her alter-ego Berta) and Bootsie and the new gay guy given so much screentime but Miss Patty barely made an appearance and Sookie/Dean were squashed in as last minute fan service? (yes, I know Melissa McCarthy and Jared Padelecki are super busy now, but c’mon). 
  • what are Paris’ kids’ names?????

Jane: There were some good parts in this revival. Paris and Jess for one. Michel was actually pretty delightful. Sookie's teensy tiny cameo. But after having a few weeks to marinate and let the series sink in, I feel like I have more negative than positive thoughts. 

So... Rory sucks. The fact that they seem to have retconned her Obama job made me a little nutty but her whole modus operandi in the original series was to become Christiane Amanpour. What happened? Rory is a terrible journalist (which we do sort of learn during her first Life and Death Brigade adventure) and also, kind of a terrible person. The fact that she was dating a guy for multiple years and KEPT FORGETTING ABOUT HIM, was just cruel. The fact that she was cheating on said guy with another guy who was in a relationship is cruel. The fact that she sent all of her boxes to about 8 different places is just plain weird. The fact that she set up a flight immediately after her grandfather's funeral sucks. And the fact that no one calls her out on her bullshit is upsetting and wrong. 

I do like the revival. I think it was fun, I maintain a love for the musical, and Emily's growth as a character was fantastic. But there's a reason this show isn't called Gilmore Women (alliteration be damned!). Lorelai and Rory still haven't grown up. I don't think I would mind Lorelai and Rory's screw-ups so much if everyone else didn't celebrate them so much. If there were actual consequences to their actions. However, there never seems to be. They both float through life complaining, and everyone else picks up the pieces. 

An Interview with Ali de Bold of ChickAdvisor

Sam and Jane are both big ChickAdvisor fans and were lucky enough to be able to go to the sold out ChickAdvisor event a few months back at the Royal York. We wrote all about it over here, so check that out!

Now, we are even luckier to have been able to talk to Ali de Bold, the Founder of ChickAdvisor, Canada's premier review site, who told us the ins and outs of becoming an online entrepreneur (and the bumps along the way). 

If you had to tweet a description of yourself (140 characters or less) what would you say?

3rd generation entrepreneur, mom of 2 great kids.

Tell us about ChickAdvisor: What is it? How did you come up with the idea? When did it start?

ChickAdvisor was Canada’s first review site! We started working on the idea late 2004 and launched in 2006. I was planning my wedding in Winnipeg while living in Toronto and was frustrated there was no place to get reviews on hair salons or products in general. I said to my fiance at the time (Alex) that there should be a place where women could review these things, rather than be left to decide on a hair salon based on the ads in the yellow pages and he said, let’s build that! As someone who started his first company in his 3rd year in university he knew how to get something off the ground. We hired a small team of developers and a graphic designer who worked for equity and built it together.

Congratulations on hitting 10 years! What have been some of the highlights of this endeavoUr? Some lowlights?

Highlights have been the amazing members I’ve met over the years. Meeting women who have been part of our community for 10 years is the most humbling, amazing thing. It’s such an honour to me that these women have stuck with us all of these years.

Lowlights would be the continuous ups and downs of the entrepreneur life. Having great sales one month and terrible the next. It’s scary when your business partner is your spouse so if you fail you lose everything. Your savings, your house… there is a lot of pressure. There are a lot of people that would be let down if we don’t succeed.

ChickAdvisor Premium is being launched in January. Can you tell us about that? What’s the response been like so far (how many people signed up, etc)?

The response has been awesome! We are almost halfway to our goal of 1,000 members by January… and these members have signed up purely on faith that it’s going to be great! They don’t even know what they are going to get yet. It’s going to be awesome. I can’t wait to see their reaction when they see the awesome deals we have lined up plus the amazing welcome gift. It’s a ridiculous deal.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome when starting ChickAdvisor?

We had to bootstrap everything. We tried to raise money before we launched so we could grow quickly. We met with numerous Venture Capitalists and Angel investors. The Venture Capitalists laughed at us - they couldn’t fathom anyone would ever want to review products such as a lipstick. We did have two Angels ready to invest. We’d met with them numerous times talking through all of the details of our strategy. In our final meeting they had a term sheet turned upside down on the table. They told us they wanted to invest in ChickAdvisor… but not in me. They said it was because women were “too emotional” and they felt more comfortable investing in men. They started to discuss amongst themselves the different men they knew that could possibly run the company with my husband instead of me. After all, “as his wife”, they said, “I’m sure you’ll share your great ideas with your husband”. That was the end of those discussions. It was disappointing at the time but it became a major motivation for me to prove those guys wrong. To build a successful business without them. I’m so proud that we did and am honoured by the many women who are or have been part of our team.

What was the best piece of advice you received when starting your own company? What kind of advice would you give a new startup?

Follow your passion and the money will come. If you start a business with the motivation of becoming rich rather than doing something you love, you are doing it for the wrong reason.

My advice for a new start-up would be:

  1. Do what you love.

  2. Do your research - see if there is a need in the market for your idea. Be prepared to walk away if there isn’t.

  3. Choose your partner(s) wisely and put everything in writing. Contracts are made in the best of times… for the worst of times. If you don’t have a contract you could get screwed.

  4. Do something original. Don’t copy someone else’s idea unless yours is an obvious and dramatic improvement over what is already there. Why go into a field that already has a ton of competition?

  5. Do it in your 20s or ideally before you have kids. Kids need a lot of love, time and stability. That’s not a great time to gamble.

Of all the companies you’ve worked with (in terms of samples, etc), what are some of your favourites?

That’s impossible to pick as I have clients we’ve been working with since the very beginning. I have too many favourites.

What is the best part of running your own business? The worst part?

Best part = I take Mondays off to be with my kids.

Worst part = the stress. If I fail I let so many people down.

Where do you hope to take the company in another ten years?

Household name in Canada, disrupt other markets.

You usually do events in major Canadian cities (Toronto/Montreal/Vancouver) – do you have plans to expand to more cities across the country? Or into the US?

Events are extremely expensive to execute across the country. The cost people pay to attend doesn’t even come close to covering what it actually costs us. Every time we do ShowCase or another local event, we get emails from women across Canada wondering when we are coming to their city. It’s not possible to go to all of these places. I’m really hoping ChickAdvisor Premium will take off so women can participate no matter where they are located.

Thanks so much to Ali de Bold for her candid and amazing answers. Check out her great and innovative site at www.chickadvisor.com

Things We Love About Winter


I don’t actually like winter that much because I don’t enjoy being cold, but this season does bring some happiness.


Christmas is my favourite time of the year – I love the decorations (especially decorating trees) and baking cakes and exchanging gifts and the music and family time and pretty much everything that has to do with Christmas. So I really only like the month of December but it's technically winter, right?

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

I love chocolate and candy canes are my favourite candy...so put them together in a warming drink and it’s basically heaven in a cup. 

My Winter Coat

A couple of years ago, I bought a long black winter coat that makes me look (and feel) like Sherlock Holmes and it’s ridiculously cool (and surprisingly warm). 

Winter Accessories

I have a vast collection of toques/beanies and more scarves than I actually need, but accessorizing in the winter is more fun than accessorizing in the summer (except I can’t wear long earrings without accidentally getting them stuck in my scarf).


Having a slight case of Seasonal Affective Disorder can make Winter a pain in my ass. With shorter days and less light, it can be harder to be excited about things and the desire to go to sleep early is sometimes hard to fight. Plus, it gets fucking cold here. Winter really sucks.

That being said, if I dig deep enough, I can still find some things about Winter that make it almost worth the depression it gives me. 

It's Pretty

As cold and dark as it gets, when the lights come on and the snow falls, Winter can be pretty beautiful. Getting all bundled up and walking through a Winter Wonderland can raise the spirits. 

Time Off

If there's ever a time during the year that I need time off, it's when the weather gets so bad that I contemplate quitting so I don't have to leave my apartment. 

Sparkly Makeup

Sure, you can wear sparkly makeup all year round, but it takes on a new meaning in the Winter. You suddenly match all Holiday decor, glow like a disco ball, and look like a motherfucking rock star. 

Squeeing Saturday - November 2016


Show: Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls.jpg

I decided that I was going to completely re-watch the entire series of Gilmore Girls before the new Netflix specials aired, and I am proud to say that I accomplished this ridiculous goal. I can't remember exactly when I started watching Gilmore Girls  initially, but it was amazing to revisit Stars Hollow and the whole wacky gang. 

Podcast: Gilmore Guys

My other goal was to listen to all of "Gilmore Guys" before the new Netflix specials aired, but there are literally not enough hours to do so, and we're not living in a Clockstoppers world. I'm halfway through their shows, and cannot wait to see their take on the new episodes.


Actor: David Tennant

Last month, I finally started watching Doctor Who (seriously, where have I been for the past fifty years?), and not only have I fallen in love with the show, but it renewed my obsession with David Tennant who is always delightful.

Country: Ireland

By the time you read this, I’ll be in Ireland, so I’ll probably be a wee bit tipsy, but I’m stoked af to be adventuring on the Emerald Isle for the first time. 

TV Show: Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

I HAVEN’T WATCHED THIS YET, AND I WILL STRAIGHT-UP MURDER ANYONE WHO SPOILS IT FOR ME...but as a long-time GG fan, I’m dying to see what they’ve been up to!

Song: "Swing" - Knuckle Puck

I've been on a Knuckle Puck kick for at least two months now, and I'm living for "Swing". When I first reviewed their album, Copacetic, I gave it a 7/10, but it's definitely grown on me over the past year (though 7/10 is still a good rating!).

Classic Movies We Want to Watch


Breakfast at Tiffany's

A couple of years ago, I actually bought a collection of Audrey Hepburn films, but haven't gotten around to watching them yet. Apart from that iconic photo of her, I don't actually know what the plot of this movie is!

The Godfather

I've seen so many references to this movie (the whole horse's head thing...), but I don't know the context around it, so that should be fun. 

Gone With the Wind

It's like 2385707329 hours long but it looks epic, so I'm willing to spend that much time with it (even though it will take me at least two weeks to watch the whole thing). 


Even though I have a degree in Film Studies, my knowledge of classic films can be pretty spotty. 

Pretty appropriate considering the current political climate.

Considering that it's being redone and has been completely whitewashed, I want to see the original in all its anime glory.


Classic Books We Want to Read


I have some major holes in my classic literature knowledge. Once again, I realize it would have been great to take a university course and fill up some of that hole, but alas, I am left to my own devices to figure it out. The number of books to read seems endless, but if I had to choose:

Why Infinite Jest? Because I've heard it's long and unyielding and I want to see if I'm up to the challenge.

Why Handmaid's Tale? Because it satisfies my feminist, sci-fi, Canadiana needs in one package.

Why A Wrinkle in Time? Because I realized I never read it, and it seems like a book that my younger self would have really enjoyed.

Why Siddhartha? Because I own a copy of it but haven't even looked at the first page.


Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

I mean, as horrified as I am about a grown man falling in lust with a twelve year old, I'm also really intrigued? I want to read this so I can be equal parts scandalized and disgusted. 

Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

One of my friends is obsessed with this book, and I'm genuinely curious as to why. Plus I just realized it's only 112 pages, which is a heck of a lot shorter than most of Steinbeck's other works, so it should be a breeze. 

The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

I don't know how I've made it to my mid-twenties without reading (or being forced to read) Salinger, but since The Catcher in the Rye is technically a YA book, it should be right up my street (even if it is basically written in stream of consciousness, aka my least favourite literary technique).  

Welcome to the Black Parade

My Chemical Romance's most famous album turned 10 in October, so we're celebrating it in all its emo glory today. 


Because I’m an absolute idiot, I didn’t start listening to My Chemical Romance until AFTER they broke up and I’ve been berating myself for this mistake for almost three years. In high school, I was scared to give them a try (probably thanks to their Revenge-era make-up), plus there was a girl who hated me and was a big MCR fan...but I digress. My point is, though the album doesn’t hold any nostalgia for the “good old days”, it encompasses a particular sound, a scene, a feeling, that caught hold of me ten years ago and has never let me go. I may not have listened to The Black Parade as an angsty teenager, but I can appreciate how songs like “I Don’t Love You” and “Famous Last Words” would have spoken to teens (or younger). Plus, let’s be real, there is still something cathartic about singing along to them, even if they do veer towards the melodramatic. One of my biggest music-related regrets in life is not being able to witness MCR in their full glory – I’ve seen Gerard Way as a solo artist, but, for all its catchy hooks, Hesitant Alien can’t hold a candle to the theatrics of The Black Parade – because I believe it would have been a wondrous sight to behold.

I also have to say that I LOVE the video for “Welcome to the Black Parade” - from the now-iconic marching band uniforms (designed by Tim Burton-collaborator Colleen Atwood), to the almost gothic feel...I’m into it.


When Sam suggested that we talk about Black Parade, I was a bit wary, thinking I only knew the title track and wouldn't be of much help. However, when I looked at the album again, I remembered that I used to listen to it all the time, to the point where I remember most of the lyrics TO THE ENTIRE THING. If I had somehow repressed these emo memories, they came flooding back while listening to "Teenagers". I actually really love this album. It's classic emo, it's melancholy, it's angry, it's tragic, it's got that epic one plink on the piano that will send every self-respecting millennial into black eyeliner when they hear it.... it all works. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some skinny jeans to stuff myself into, hair to straighten, and emotions to feel.