An Open Letter to Andrea Swift

14 Sep

Dear Andrea,

It has been 11 years since October 3rd has been THIS important.


As I’m sure you’re well aware, your daughter will be gracing Toronto with her presence, and I’m guessing you will be there too.

Let me start by saying, this is an abnormal act for me – this kind of open declaration. While I certainly have proclaimed my fan-girl status on social media, I need more than 140 characters to explain why October 3rd will soon become the most important day in this calendar year.

Last year upon finding out concert dates for the 1989 tour, my four girlfriends and my sister decided it only made sense for them to visit me in Toronto to take in this epic event.

Over the past year since our tickets have been purchased, a lot has happened in your life and in ours. Your battle with cancer was announced, your daughter took on the world’s largest company to fight for the right of musicians everywhere to be paid for their music, Olivia Benson came into your family and the #GirlSquad was born.

I am lucky enough to have my own #GirlSquad. Five of whom will be in attendance with me on October 3rd. All of whom are flying half way across the country to see this show.

While my #GirlsSquad isn’t on the cover of any magazine, taking on music giants or selling out stadiums, I’m pretty darn proud of who we are.

In the last year my Sister worked hard to build a great career for herself despite suffering from a serious learning disability and other #GirlSquad members have worked full time jobs while working on their MBA, worked full time and come home to be a kick-ass Mom, finally won the right to have their fiancé live in Canada permanently, and we’ve all worked our butts off to be successful in our careers, friendships and relationships.

After reading the Vanity Fair article on Taylor, I was really taken aback on what this #GirlSquad really was. It isn’t just a collection of beautiful women pretending to pose in a perfect kitchen to help generate more fame, it seems to truly be a group of women who care about each other and genuinely want to support each other as they move through their unique place in this world. That struck me as being incredibly normal, despite how abnormal all of their lives are.

So, I write you today because on October 3rd, my #GirlSquad will be gathered to take all of this in. To be surrounded by thousands of other “Swifties” as we sing and dance our faces off, we will also be in the presence of an artist we all love, not only because her songs are killer, but because she is kind to others, walks through NYC with her cat and wears knit sweaters from her fans.

The fact of the matter Andrea, is that a person like this becomes who they are because of their parents. Thank you for raising someone that at 13 or 30 we can look up to, be inspired by, and have fun with. So thank you, for making October 3rd possible.

Just in case you want to say hello, we’ll be the ones in section 215 row 2.

xoxo Sylvia

Genie, You’re Free

12 Aug

Evan Rachel Wood fittingly shared this photo from Aladdin. “Genie, You’re Free.”

Today the news broke of Robin Williams passing. It seems like we’ve lost so many amazing talents this year but for some reason this feels different.

I remember seeing my first movie in theatres as a kid, and then I remember seeing my first FAVOURITE movie in theatres and that was Aladdin. Robin Williams captured my heart at 7 years old, and likely before that as my Dad was always quoting lines from Mork and Mindy that set me into stitches time and time again.

In 1993, my friend and I were taken to see Mrs. Doubtfire. Another movie that much to my Mother’s dismay was about the story of divorced parents that despite all odds are able to get along. My friend had just seen her parents separate and we had already failed once that year in trying to avoid divorce / reconciliation movies.

But regardless of how sad the story was to those who had just watched their parents go through divorce, Robin Williams was able to show the dark side, and then the light in an otherwise entirely crappy situation. I’ve seen Mrs. Doubtfire more times than I can imagine and despite being in high school when my parents divorced, I still had the comfort in understanding the power of a parents love for their children and the force that drives them to stop at nothing to keep loving their children in an otherwise love-less situation.

Then in 1995 I was invited to a birthday party at Empire Theatres and was invited to accompany the birthday girl into the projection room for a tour. Jumanji scared the pants off me but I will never forget that movie and it’s connection to my first time into the magical world of theatres.

My childhood memories of Robin Williams are endless. Flubber, One Saturday Morning, the introduction to those I had missed like Hook. The re-watching of all of those classics that I fell in love with.

Then came Patch Adams. I first saw Patch Adams as part of our local Youth Group movie night. Everything about that movie rocked me to the core and I went back to watch in theatres 3 more times. I was only 13 years old. It was probably the first drama that I really felt like I understood and it moved me from cartoon land to his more serious roles.

Without going into a full on IMDB summary of his work – the bottom line is from my early years loving movies, into my recent love for him in The Crazy Ones, Robin Williams has been part of my movie-loving DNA.

Within a few minutes of learning the news my sister text me. She’s easily seen Aladdin more times than should be humanly possible, (and oddly enough ended up siding with Jafar after all of that), but she told me that she heard the news and said a friend of hers said that he was so lost in Williams characters that he actually took a minute to figure out who they were talking about when they said his name.

A loss like this is so painful to think about. A man who brought so much joy and laughter into so so many lives, suffering with depression is just about as heartbreaking as it gets. His smiles and laughter I’m sure were often that of a man coping with demons far beyond what most of us will ever understand.

I hope somewhere deep down in his heart before he left us that he had some sense of what he brought to those who loved him. To those whose names he knew, or those of us who were nameless that sat in theatres time after time because we just couldn’t get enough.

Thank you Robin Williams for your smiles, laughter, and your honesty. I will truly miss you.


29 Jul

I have a dairy allergy. Consequently I also love food. These two things have always been in battle with each other as I walked away from my food loves including ice cream and pizza.

At the time I figured out I had an allergy there were so few options available to me for alternatives. Soy products at the time were terrible and I just wanted to cry at the thought of having a slice of pizza again. Slowly but surely my options expanded and after discovering goat cheese was agreeable with me, I began to start to enjoy food again. But as time passed and our lives became busier, we got into the routine of meat, starch, vegetable growing old. Safe, but boring.

In October 2013 we moved to a new city. This change had us super busy and resort to some not so great eating habits. (FYI dairy free does not equal healthy!) Come January 1st as many people do, we swore up and down we were going to get into a better eating and fitness routine.

Sure enough The Husband and I hit the gym January 2nd and never looked back. While our workouts were not necessarily the same, the fact that there was motivation to get off the couch after a long day of work was great. Also a great way to spend some time together and blow off some steam.

A couple of weeks into this new routine I started to pay more attention to a friend of mine posting recipes and promoting a new e-book she was creating. That friend is the lovely @abigailkeeso . Abigail went through some health issues of her own that resulted in her turning her eating habits upside down. The results were far beyond just looking good, she started to improve her overall health. So much so that she wanted to start sharing this new way of living with others.

I had known she was doing this for a while, but I was skeptical to jump on the boat because I’m not a dieter. I love food, I love going out to dinner but the idea of not only having a dairy allergy but also doing some other fad diet was just not my cup of tea. As it turns out I was wrong wrong wrong to have thought this was a “diet”.

Technically any habit of eating would be considered a diet. My dairy free way of eating would be considered that, as would be the case if I was addicted to Pop Tarts and was willing to risk getting scurvy to pursue an exclusive Pop Tart diet.

SO when you consider eating being a diet in and of itself TECHNICALLY That Clean Life is a diet. HOWEVER, I quickly learned this is not some get slim fast gimmick or a meal plan that ultimately lets you down because it only consisted of eating air for 2 of 3 meals a day.

That Clean Life for me was about expanding my menu options to have a super healthy delicious repertoire of foods that I could eat that were dairy free. At least that’s how it started. The first “challenge” started in February. The challenge was a way for people to exclusively try clean foods and try and cut out some of the garbage you’d become used to eating. The word challenge can be intimidating, but as it turned out the food was SO good that I could hardly call it a challenge. I kid you not, even knowing what was in my food I loved it so much I felt guilty eating it afterwards convinced someone snuck in an added something un-clean to it.

Not only that but the e-books are very well put together. Easy to follow grocery lists, recipes and instructions make following the plan to a tee SUPER easy. This is clean eating for dummies. (But you’re not a dummy, you’re eating well. That’s a good choice.)


Brown rice penne with portobello mushrooms and spinach. Drooling yet?

The Husband was fully supportive of trying new foods as he too had become tired of our weekly meals. Day after day another delicious meal was prepared and the level of satisfaction increased steadily. We never felt like we were giving up anything in order to eat this way, in fact we were just benefiting from the satisfaction of eating well.

After the first challenge was over we continued to repeat the recipes over and over again. The recipes just weren’t getting old. Then challenge after challenge presented itself and we continued to participate but also learn about how to cook other foods in a way that was just way better for you.

It wasn’t long before I realized that 95% of my meals and snacks that were consumed during non-challenge times were from That Clean Life e-books or meals I began to prepare using the clean eating knowledge I obtained. This was the food I started to crave. I’d be jammed on the subway dreaming about my pre-run almond butter and banana snack (that is a lethal combo BTW). I also learned to grow my culinary confidence. From someone who was once teased about not knowing where the kitchen was in my apartment ( I DID OK, IT WAS A JOKE!) to someone who was preparing meals that The Husband and I deemed as restaurant quality in their taste. My feathers started to puff. I became hooked.


Homemade quinoa sushi.

Eventually the combination of our clean eating and excercise efforts began to show themselves. By the time the Canada Day long weekend rolled around I was able to confidently sport a bathing suit on the beach. Even with my diet radically changing with my dairy allergy, I still hadn’t hit the sweet spot where I felt like I was in the physical shape I wanted to be in. These two things helped me get there 100%.

Do I eat clean ALL of the time? No. I will say though that good meal prep makes getting through the work week really easy. But I do indulge, mostly on weekends. But I’m finding as more time passes though indulgences become less and less and I’m attracted to healthy, clean treats instead of something not so good for me. Will I eat a Churros if I discover it’s dairy free? Heck ya. But that’s once in a while and I’m conscious of not going down a slippery slope that will ultimately make me feel just plain gross again.


Strawberry rhubarb oatmeal bake. IS A BREAKFAST ITEM. You’ll think you’re being punk’d this is so good.

That Clean Life has opened my eyes to a new way of eating. One where you can eat good food, be full, and share it with your friends, something that so many gimmicky diets boast they can do but don’t deliver on.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t EASY. Despite being really delicious and healthy food, there is WORK involved in making it. Meal planning, meal prep, workouts. These things all take time and dedication and it’s easy to throw in the towel and say you don’t have time, but you can make time and I promise it’s worth it.

So go over to That Clean Life and see what it’s all about!

World Mastercard Fashion Week – Triarchy

25 Mar

Some families just have good jeans. But in this case the Taubenfligel family also has some pretty amazing genes to boot. Aside from being ridiculously good looking, Adam, Ania and Mark are three siblings with tremendous talent.

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On paper it seems as though their interests couldn’t be any different. Ania in equestrian show jumping, Mark in custom motorcycle design and Adam in fashion. But as it turns out these differences came together to inspire Triarchy – their equestrian and motorcycle inspired denim collection.

I had the pleasure of checking out their Fall 2014 collection at  World Mastercard Fashion Week in Toronto – a show in which they are no strangers to. The show opened with a beautiful and touching vignette of Ania explaining the story behind the brand. Born in Vancouver, bred in LA, this family business was built on the foundation of quality, craftsmanship and a love for denim. Three siblings who may not always be in the same place, always have their business keeping them together.

Next came the collection. From the first pair of denim I was in love. I mean just look at this:

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Beautiful right?

The collection has a timelessness about it, but also has hints of leather and patterns throughout it giving it that equestrian / biker flare. What I loved most about the collection was how wearable it was. You looked at model after model and forgot that these were in fact models. All I kept thinking was “Oh! I want those! And those! And those!” And aside from just WANTING those jeans, I could actually go out and get a pair.

So needless to say I will be promptly getting myself into a pair of Triarchy jeans and will absolutely be keeping an eye on this trio.

Congratulations to Adam, Ania and Mark for an incredibly amazing collection at Mastercard World Fashion week!

Visit the Triarchy website to learn more about the brand and check out their amazing collection!




Letterkenny Problems – Canadian Screen Award Nominee!

24 Feb

A few months back I shared a post about Letterkenny Problems. A YouTube series, and might I say sensation, near and dear to my heart.

Well as it would turn out Letterkenny Problems has been nominated for a Canadian Screen Award in the category of  Best Original Program or Series produced for Digital Media.

If you’re not yet familiar with the Canadian Screen Awards they were previously two events – The Gemini Awards and the Genie Awards. But now the Canadian Screen Awards recognize all things great in Canadian Television, Film and Digital Media.

So on March 4th keep your fingers crossed and check those Twitter feeds to see if Letterkenny has won. But to paraphrase a text from my Mom “OMG I just realized they might still WIN an award! I was just so excited they were nominated!!!” Frankly, I too couldn’t be more ridiculously proud than I already am and just knowing the brain child of these two childhood pals is something that people are watching and quoting is enough to put a smile of my face.

So check out the post from June 2013 below with a  couple of new videos added, and have a laugh or two with the boys of Letterkenny.

WARNING – Language may not be appropriate for everyone. So earmuffs for the kids please!

Some of my favourite people in the entire world come from a little tiny town in Ontario. Two that are especially near and dear to my heart are The Husband and his BFF Jared Keeso. A few months back they started a Twitter account recounting the all too true tales of the things that happen in their hometown and it caught on like wildfire.

So Jared being the talented actor, writer and producer that he is, approached The Husband about the idea of turning their Twitter account into a series of shorts.

Well I’m happy to announce that the boys have struck a chord. They may come from a small town in Ontario, but as it turns out – people from small towns all over the place can relate to the tales these two are telling. The first instalment of Letterkenny has over 130,000 views on Funny or Die and has been given “Immortal” status.

So here you have the first 3 episodes of Letterkenny Problems. Enjoy! And hey – if you like these – tell your friends :)

Lucky 7 x 2 = 2014

6 Jan

So math has never been my forte but I do know one thing. 2013 was a tough year for many of us. Are we surprised?! 13 is a famously unlucky number.

But here we are. It’s a new year. It’s 2014. 7 is a notoriously lucky number and 7 x 2 = 14 which means 2014 will be awesome.

OK, maybe I’m grabbing at straws here but I’m determined to kick this year’s butt and if some questionable math will help me put a positive spin on 2014 then so be it!

So to kick off the new year I want to share some things I’m excited for.

1) Exploring our new city: Yes, this is the very first blog post since our big move and I’m really looking forward to exploring our new city. So far I’ve found a dairy free bakery run by the cutest Eastern-European woman who always asks me where in Europe I’m from but pretends we’re BFF’s, a great Pad Thai place and VEGAN CUPCAKES!! Did I mention I love treats? This city is chalk-a-block full of them.

2) Reconnecting with friends and family:  Moving to the city was a bit scary but we’ve been welcomed with open arms by old friends and new and we’re settling in pretty well. We’re also now a pretty quick drive away from The Husband’s family and childhood friends. I’m pretty lucky because they’re awesome and I love them and they’ve taken me in as one of their own. My Halifax friends. I MISS YOU. But fear not, I’m in good hands here.

I’m also exceptionally pumped to be closer to our Nieces and Nephew who live a fairly short drive away. They finally have figured out who we are and I love that we can take in a hockey game, or skating lesson, or a ridiculously competitive game of Just Dance 2014 whenever we want.

3) Juan-uary. Yes I still watch The Bachelor. This season just got started and the adorable Juan Pablo is the man of the hour. So during these chilly winter months we can take comfort in knowing there is some smut to look forward to every Monday!

4) Working out with The Husband: We’ve been going to the gym together for quite some time but always worked out on our own. We’re trying to take advantage of the gym in our building which is a touch small, but it’s forced us to join forces! I must say, I was a bit scared The Husband would morph into Jillian Michaels and scream at me all the time, but we’re working hard and having fun. Move over Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod!

5) Last but not least I’m very excited for January 29th. Why? It’s when our amazing friend Jared Keeso’s new show 19-2 debut’s on Bravo!! 19-2 was filmed in Montreal and is the English version of the already popular French-Canadian Police drama that shares the same name.

And if you don’t mind me getting sappy here for a moment I have to say how proud we are of Jared. We are always cheering for you pal, but we have a sneaking suspicion that 2014 is going to be an awesome one for you too. We miss you but can’t wait to have you on our TV every week!

Ok. Sap-fest over. Now check out the trailer and get DVR’ing, January 29th is coming up soon you know!



To everyone who felt a bit roughed up by 2013, I wish you a happy, healthy, and wonderful 2014. Lucky 7’s have to be good for something right?


11 Oct

Not every year can be your favourite year. Considering the past couple of years have been insanely good to me and my friends I was expecting some bumps in the road to present themselves at some point.

2013 has been a year of change. Not all bad but not all great. The gang at This Needs to Stop has had engagements, amazing career changes, moves to new countries and jobs that we love more than we ever thought we could love a job changing unexpectedly.

The past few months have been a true test of patience, resilience and friendships. Luckily while some of those have worn thin at times the friendship department has not once let me down.

Last night while playing a hilarious round of Cards Against Humanity with some of the This Needs to Stop gang, the pain in my abs caused by all the laughter reminded me of just how lucky I am.

Yes things aren’t 100% where I’d like them to be not just for myself but for some of the people around me. Yes I’ve had days where I’ve crawled into bed after work and pulled the covers over my head because I just needed an escape. But I can say that each and every day I’ve had an amazing gesture of kindness (even if to them it was such a tiny act)  from my closest of friends, to friends that I’ve met through Twitter who have turned out to be amazing support systems, to random people sending me good thoughts because for some reason I may have seemed like I needed them.

The power of a kind word, an answered email when you need some guidance, a good laugh, a good set of ears to listen is the cure to help keep your chin up and remind you of how much great there is going on in your life even if the road has taken you to an unexpected place.

So 2013, you and I may not be the best of friends, but you’ve certainly given me a lot to be thankful for even if you’ve had a funny way of showing it.

This Thanksgiving while I spend time with family and friends I will continue to remind myself of how lucky I am to be surrounded by such amazing people.

Thank you to every single person who has helped me “Keep Calm and Carry On” in 2013. You will never appreciate how thankful I am for you.




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