I Love Screens.

16 Jan

I love screens. Big screens, little screens. I love where they can take you.

The big screen is a phone-free oasis where you can plunk yourself in a room with hundreds of strangers and laugh and cry along with them with no judgement. (Although if you were seated anywhere near me during the Notebook I’m sure judgement was cast and I just didn’t notice because my mascara was running so ferociously I thought I’d never see the light of day again.)

I love movies. Funny ones, sad ones, romantic ones. NOT scary, or ones where animals die or appear to have died or come close to dying or leave for months and return after their families thought they were dead.

I also LOVE TV. In the same way a movie is so carefully crafted to hook you in one seating, I love the idea that somewhere a group of people works tirelessly to keep you coming back episode after episode, season after season.

I also loveeee finding a new show. And with 2015 in the rear view mirror, I’d like to share my thoughts on my fav new shows from the year and my 2016 top picks. ( Making a Murderer aside because I can’t even get started.)

Scream Queens.

Not gonna lie. I judged this one HARSHLY. While travelling in the states this summer everywhere I turned Lea Michellescream-queens-hester-brace or Nick Jonas was staring at me and I just kept thinking whhhhhy!!?!

Well, shame on me. This campy, over the top tale of sorority girls fighting against the Red Devil Serial Killer is insanely entertaining. Cameos galore, unreal wardrobes and a great plot have me wanting more week after week.

 

 

Master of None.

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Aziz Ansari has found a way to bring topics that impact 30 somethings in a laugh fest like no other. From group chats with your parents to being the friend without kids in a group full of friends with kids. It hits close to home AND has you laughing until milk comes out of your nose. Or wine. Whatever.

Schitt’s Creek.

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Canadian comedy has rarely hit me as hard as this one. I watched the first episode twice back to back because a) I didn’t realize there was a second one yet and b) loved it so so much.

Yes, the original hook for me was Dan Levy. As a die-hard After Show lover, I was so excited to see him back in my living room on a regular basis. However, I quickly came to love each and every character as each episode went on. The show is not only ridiculously hilarious, but timely, and heartfelt while all the while being oh-so-dramatic and over the top.

You pair that with Catherine O’Hara’s wigs and Eugene’s eyebrows, winner winner, chicken dinner.

Letterkenny.

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OK so, hear me out, this one is TECHNICALLY not out yet, but anyone previously reading the blog will know that Letterkenny is near and dear to my heart. Letterkenny was inspired by growing up in Listowel, Ontario. Jared Keeso (of 19-2 notoriety), penned some YouTube shorts that took off faster than a coyote in heat, and the people wanted more. Thus, Letterkenny became Crave TV’s first original series.

The show drops on February 7th on Crave TV,and I can promise that for fans of the YouTube series, you will not be disappointed.

 

Old Babies. 

9 Dec

There are many things on TV and in movies that aren’t realistic, and I’m ok with this.
Super hot girls marrying the schlupy guy, talking animals, 20 somethings playing 15 year olds. The list goes on.

However, there is one problem that has yet to be solved that makes my blood boil every time I see it. Old. Babies.

Old babies you say?! What kind of Monster am I? Hear me out.

So many times when a baby is revealed on screen, the baby is dramatically older than the age it is supposed to be playing.

Example – Mindy Lahiri welcomes her baby into the world on this season of The Mindy Project, and our first glimpse at him is meant to be right after delivery while they are deciding on his name.

We expect to see a teeny little bundle of joy experiencing life’s first breaths, but instead we get a 6 month old. What?!?

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Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect a new mother to bust it out of the hospital, run straight to a talent agent, take headshots and get that little peanut on the 9-5, but why does Hollywood keep trying to play us for fools?!
I’m also curious to understand how a 6 month old gets a job, but that’s neither here nor there right now.

What I’d like to propose is the following.
1) Fake babies. The working world is rough! Give the babies a break and do the audience a favour. We don’t expect the baby to be real, a fake new looking baby is less jarring than a real, old baby.
2) No baby at all. Swaddle up a log, a pillow, a bag of hammers. Whatever, swaddle it up and don’t shoot any scenes showing its “face”.
3) Time Lapse. Cut from the birthing room to 6 months later. Voila! Old baby is now age appropriate baby!
4) Use puppies. People will be genuinely confused and assume this was some edit gone wrong. Just roll with it.

So please casting agents everywhere. Hear my plea. Give us swaddled rocks, look aheads, bundled up baby elephants, but please stop trying to make old babies new again. You’re not fooling anyone.

Oh, Hello There!

25 Nov

On September 27th, 2010 a group of people who came together through Twitter, shared with the internet, a video blog dedicated to Gossip Girl.

The concept was slightly short sighted but from it spawned friendships, laughter and many wonderful memories. The blog evolved from weekly gatherings to chat Gossip Girl to a place to share musings of all things Pop Culture.

The last five years has seen us all grow and evolve, all of us with major life changes under our belts.

I often think about this poor neglected blog and how it’s been a great outlet, a launchpad to start new friendships, and a place to get thoughts out when the 140 characters of Twitter hasn’t been enough.

So today I jump back on the blog. A lone contributor now, but each time I log in, I get to smile with memories of this group of people who I’ve been through a hell of a lot with.

Each Tuesday I’ll put pen to paper and get back in the saddle bringing you the ever important thoughts of my Pop Culture saturated brain.

With that, let’s get to it. My conflicting feelings about Beebs.

I’ve been proud of fighting the good fight for years now. I love boy bands, success stories, small towners turning big time. SUCCESS MAKES ME CRY WITH JOY but I couldn’t be come a Belieber. The antics, the are they or aren’t they with Selena, the immature dealings of a boy who hit fame faster than he could handle and just couldn’t stop.

Then, the change started to happen. It started with The Roast. The Roast was epic. Martha, Shaq, Kevin Hart. Justin took hit after hit from pop culture heavyweights and took it with dignity. Was his monologue at the end a bit too much? Yes. Did it start to make me wonder if he had changed? Yes again.

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Don’t mind us, we’re just in matching shoes.

And then the new singles came. And just like that I was caught singing along to songs that I actually liked by a guy I fundamentally couldn’t stand.

Now he’s made his way through the talk show circuit, the likes of Ellen and he’s blown up the charts along the way. Has Bieber’s music matured, I’ll give this a resounding yes. Has he? Jury is still out.

In the meantime I will continue to belt out the words to “Love Yourself” any time I am convinced no one is listening.

Will I become a Belieber? We’ll see.

 

An Open Letter to Andrea Swift

14 Sep

Dear Andrea,

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

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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
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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.

#ThatCleanLife

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.)

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

 

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