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Listen to this | Radiolab, Longform and Invisibilia Podcasts

Urban Ears Headphones

Serial changed my life. Okay maybe not my whole life, but definitely the cooking and driving parts of my life. Before Sarah Koenig brought Adnan Syed’s life into mine, I had dismissed podcasts as something only for the super techy and super nerdy (which is what I used to think about blogging and here I am!).

Binge-listening to the first season of Serial opened up a new world for me, to the point where I’m now that (techy, nerdy) person who relays anecdotes from This American Life at dinner parties. In case you haven’t had the privilege of dining with me lately, here are three of my favourites.

My love for this show runs deep. It weaves fascinating, heartstring-pulling stories out of subjects I’d normally have zero interest in, like figure skating, genetic manipulation and Candid Camera. Which episodes should you start with? Translation, Juicervose, and Live: Tell-Tale Hearts featuring Oliver Sacks.

I have not been able to write as much as I would like to lately, but I have been able to listen to other people talk about writing lately. Longform showcases intimate conversations with writers of nonfiction like the always fascinating Heather Havrilesky, Cheryl Strayed, and Tavi Gevinson.

An offshoot of Radiolab, Invisibilia delves into the invisible forces that govern our lives — physics, fear, Batman, and the like. The second season starts soon (June 17th) so catch up on the first season, or at the very least on the Entanglement, Our Computers, Ourselves, and How to Become Batman episodes.

Happy listening!

[Thanks for the headphones, Urbanears!]

Give | Spreading the Valentine’s Day Love



Sometimes I feel like the only person on the planet who loves Valentine’s Day. And I don’t mean the roses and baby’s breath kind of VDay, I mean the “I Choo Choo Choose You and there’s a picture of a train” kind of Valentine’s Day. It’s so sweet, so cheesy, so full of sugar!


I stopped by CTV Morning Live with a few sappy, sassy, and sexy gifts for the Hallmark Holiday.


I hope you <3 it! Take a look here. Thanks again for having me, CTV!

Inside Kelly Wearstler’s Studio

“The key to success is organization,” says Kelly Wearstler. In this video by the New York Times, the designer offers a tour of her Los Angeles studio, where she and her team dream up and bring to life everything in her eponymous line, from home wares to women’s accessories.

Pinstagram | You can’t beat beets

The Anthology’s Pinstagram column marries the dream (Pinterest) and the reality (Kelsey Dundon’s Instagram photos of places and faces in and around Vancouver).

Work it. A jacket and a beautiful copper magazine tidy.

Get some zzzzzz’s. My little one’s mid-meal pass out and more traditional place to pass out.

Bright whites. Whistler and a wintry wonderland.

Can’t beat beets. A beet-and-berry smoothie and sage and ricotta-filled beet pasta.

Sunny daze. A sunny table at tacofino and a hotel in Dubrovnik.

P.S. There are more photos where these came from so add The Anthology on Facebook.

Style | Talking Top Winter Trends on Global Television

Boy, do I get excited for holiday parties. Like really, really excited. I’ve been getting holiday-themed press releases for months so it feels like I’ve been up to my eyeballs in tinsel forever now and I still can’t get enough. Maybe it’s the sequins.

Speaking of, embellishments were one of three of the biggest winter trends I featured on Global Television the other day. The other two? Sheer cutouts (thank you, Gwyneth) and knits for night. You’ll find all of them in stores and Metropolis at Metrotown and you’ll find the clip riiiiiiiiight here.

Thanks for the photos, Katie!

Diary | Ballet BC Up

One of my first writing jobs was penning dance reviews for The Georgia Straight, Vancouver’s arts and culture weekly. It was before I started The Anthology, before Twitter was invented, before social media was a thing outside the nerdiest circles. Things were different back then.

I went to many, many shows. Some big, some small, some at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, some at a bar on Granville Street. But they were all in their costumed, on-stage, completely finished glory. Wednesday was the first time I got to go, well, not behind the curtain because there was no curtain in the Dance Centre studio, but behind the proverbial curtain. For the launch of Ballet BC’s young patrons group Up, they invited us to a runthrough, a rehearsal one step before a dress rehearsal, where we sat in their studio, watched them stretch before they hit the floor, and counted the beads of sweat on their foreheads during their performance.

Man, it made me miss dance. Maybe even enough that I’d take their all-levels ballet class taught by their dancers. I’ll take any excuse to pull out the old leotard.

Interview | Kim Izzo and David Cormican of The Jane Austen Marriage Manual

Between getting her own pound note and celebrating the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen is having a big year. The Jane Austen Marriage Manual is too. The book by best-selling author Kim Izzo is going to be made into a film (isn’t that every author’s dream?!). I caught up with the author and producer David Cormican to talk speed dating, Frankenstein, that diner scene from When Harry Met Sally and other things that would make Ms. Austen blush.

David, what attracted you to this novel and why did you think it would make a great film?
I know you’re never supposed to do this, but I always buy wine based on its label and a book is no different. The cover was really clever and inviting. Once I started reading it, I felt like I was reading a screenplay. The characters just leapt off the page and I could see the whole movie lay out before me. Kim’s writing is very cinematic and theatrical and the more I read, the more I wanted to explore and share this world with other people.

What did Kate learn from Jane Austen that we should all take note of?

Kim: She learned, to paraphrase Elizabeth Bennet, that only the most ardent love would and should entice her, and any woman, into matrimony.

David: I’m not sure if this is what Kate learns, or if I did as a reader through her eyes… but that romantic love is a privilege that most people never earn and we can only hope that we all have the foresight and courage to see it (and even more importantly accept and embrace it) when it is right in front of us!

If Jane Austen were to have actually written a marriage manual, what would she say to those navigating today’s speed-dating, “chivalry is dead” world?

Kim: Run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit.

David: Be discriminating. An attractive flirt is not necessarily the best relationship material. Take the time to see how compatible you are and don’t give in to desperation. Be brave enough to hold out for someone you can really love — and that also holds the door for you.

Some of the most brilliant, career-driven women I know (like Kate) are big Jane Austen fans. Why do you think her tales of unmarried sisters with inheritance anxiety endure?

Kim: I’m not sure its the anxiety bit that endures, but the romance. Austen’s novels are gorgeous romances filled to the brim with rogues and dark and brooding strangers. Most women are suckers for it. But, there is also a part of all of us, that wish for a home to call our own, and some security. The world is increasingly a harsh, cold place, having some protection from the “elements” is more than an Austen fantasy, it is a necessity.

David: I feel like I should step back and let Kim answer this one. But if I was forced to answer, I’d say because it is brilliant story telling that speaks to the human condition. Much the same that Shakespeare has endured the test of time.

The Jane Austen Marriage Manual has been called a great beach read. What’s in your beach bag?

Kim: I seem to be a year behind! I finally just read The American Heiress and The Chaperone, two of last summer’s big reads, and adored them. But I’ve got my hands on a copy of The Other Typist and can’t wait to dive into it next.

David: Right now, I’m reading High, by Brian O’Dea. It’s nothing short of gripping. Brian tells all about his life as one of the world’s largest drug smugglers. Once I finish those pages, I’ll be reading Julius Winsome by Gerard Donovan. It was passed on to me by my producing friend in Vienna (Austria).

The Jane Austen Marriage Manual movie has romantic comedy written all over it. If you could Frankenstein your favourite rom coms together, which films would you get the pieces from?

Kim: Good question. The overall tone would be Notting Hill meets Bridget Jones’ Diary, with costumes from The Tourist (yes, seriously, check out Angelina in those clothes!).

David: Oh boy! This is a fun exercise. I’m not sure what any movie would end up looking like with all these franken-elements, but here goes: I’ve always loved The soundtrack from High Fidelity, the cast from Bridget Jones’s Diary, the costumes from Moulin Rouge, the lesson learned in Click the muppets and marketing campaign of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the performances from Hitch, the dialogue and dance sequence from Silver Linings Playbook, the heartbreak from (500) Days of Summer, the honesty of Knocked Up, the evergreen nature of Love Actually, the playfulness of Pretty Woman, the design of Moonrise Kingdom, the quotability of The Princess Bride, the saturation of Amelie and the desserts/diner scene from When Harry Met Sally!

P.S. Follow @KimIzzo, @C0rmican and @TheAnthology on Twitter.

Art | Become a playwright; get a makeover

I met Shannon Rupp years ago when I was a young arts writer and since then she’s become a friend and a mentor. In this guest post, the culture critic shares the odd experience of watching an old friend portrayed on stage by a dashingly handsome actor.

As an arts journalist I’m used to interviewing performers who are nothing like the characters they play but I just had the reverse experience. Watching an actor play someone I know very well and sort of polish him up.

My old pal Mark Leiren-Young turned his Leacock Medal-winning memoir, Never Shoot a Stampede Queen, into a one-man show featuring Zachary Stevenson as him — a rookie reporter in his first job.

It’s just so weird hearing those funny stories I’ve heard forever coming out of some stranger’s mouth. Mark spent that first year of his career toiling at the Williams Lake Tribune and dined off the stories ever after.

It’s very funny. At 22, Mark was a naïf who was pranked by an editor trying to tease the gullible out of him and terrorized by beauty contestants known as Stampede Queens.

He thought he was going to a sleepy little town to earn his spurs as a reporter and he found he had landed in B.C.’s crime capital. He ended up covering stories he could sell all over the world. It’s a great story about growing up professionally, but a bit disconcerting for his pals because Zach and Mark look nothing alike.

And they sound nothing alike. And as Zach practically danced around the stage portraying a dozen characters in addition to Mark, I realized they dance nothing alike. Mark, whose two left-feet are legendary, would have tripped and fallen off the Granville Island Stage.  So I asked him what it was like seeing someone else acting out his life and, in some ways, being a better him.

“Oh, so weird,” said the journo-turned-author. “I had trouble watching at first. But then I figured that it was like getting an extreme makeover: Zach is way cuter than ever was.”

Stampede Queen runs until May 25 at the Arts Club Granville Island Stage and readers of The Anthology get $10 off tickets(!) with the promo code “buddyholly.”

Art & Design | Play of Sunlight

I love this shot, taken in Ukraine by fashion photographer Aleksandra. And the more I looked at it the more I realized it reminded me of something.

Play of Sunlight, a bromide print by American photographer Louis Fleckenstein circa 1912, at the Museum of Photographic Arts. The mood of each shot is so similar, no?

They make me want to put on an ankle-length dress and go chill in a field with the sunlight in my hair. Want to come with?

Trippin’ | Sunning Myself on BC’s Sunshine Coast

White sand beaches are nice and all, but I’d take a rocky coast any day. I love the dramatic waterfront of Hvar, Croatia, Antalya, Turkey and, a little closer to home, Egmont, BC, where I spent the other weekend on a cliff overlooking a fjord (that’s the view from my balcony in the photo above).

My favourite thing about the West Coast Wilderness Lodge where I stayed (aside from the fact that I was the first person to stay in my brand new room)? No cell reception, no internet —  just huckleberries that match my nail polish (Trout Pout by Butter London) and a nearby bake shop that serves killer freshly baked cinnamon buns.

Oh, and also the photo booth that was brought in for the wedding I attended there (congratulations Nadia and Jamie!). Like stunning coastlines, I can never get enough of those things.

P.S. While you still have an internet connection, follow The Anthology on Facebook and @TheAnthology!