Sunday, October 31, 2010


The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls

Who invited the creepy dude?

Winner for best Halloween costume of the night....our friend Tom the sexual predator.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Okanagan: Day one in photos

My digs at the Eldorado Hotel in Kelowna, a cosy, boutique-style inn.

It was a late harvest for wineries in the Okanagan this year, and many vines are still heavy with bunches of grapes.

Lunch at Quails' Gate Winery was decadent and memorable.

A behind-the-scenes look at the beer making process and bottling at Tree Brewery.

Tasting a little bit of everything.

Strolling through the vineyard overlooking Lake Okanagan at Tantalus.

Sampling juice from the vats before it becomes wine.

Lining up some light, young reds at Tantalus Vineyards.

Checking out the drying process at the Okanagan Lavender Farm.

Capping off the day with a delicious meal at the Eldorado on the waterfront.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Okanagan: Day one

Day one of my trip in the Okanagan was fantastic - we visited 2 wineries, one brewery, and dined at the Eldorado Hotel where the Chef made up a custom menu for us. I posted a photo from Quails' Gate Winery on the BCBusiness Daily Photo blog, and you can check it out HERE.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Travel writing assignment

Tomorrow morning I'm hopping on a plane to Kelowna—I'll be on a 3-day tour of the Thompson Okanagan to write a travel guide for I'll be in the company of four other local writers, none of whom I have met. We'll be drinking beer and wine, going to farmer's markets, museums and restaurants together. The publishing industry is notoriously small, so I'm looking forward to making some new writer friends and discovering the inevitable friends-of-friends connections and colleagues/former colleagues that we have in common. I always find those to be fun conversations.

Luc's already informed me that he's going to eat at Wendy's every night that I'm away—thank the lord it's only two.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kristen Hilderman was I distracted today...

Distractions at work are plentiful, but today I met my mortal enemy of distractions: pop-culture wordplay. Local musician Dan Mangan, whom I follow on Twitter, started a game by creating puns with famous people and bands. Example: Betty Whitesnake. He began with incessant tweets, pun after pun...eventually he branded the tweets with the hash tag #punmangan, and in a matter of minutes, all of his followers—myself included—had caught on and joined in the game. If you look up #punmangan on Twitter, you can see the witty mass of wordplay. Eventually, the puns were made up of anything notable in pop culture—songs, TV series, movies, characters, albums...this made for some sweet trifecta puns.

My favourites were...
Desperately Seeking Susan Boyle
Aretha Franklin the Turtle
Bat out of Hellen Keller

Here were my contributions...

Bad teenage mustaches are only the beginning

Because I'm in a crotchety mood, and because I haven't posted in a week, I'm going to share with you a few of the things that really grated my nerves today. Don't get me wrong, they always make me cringe, but today more than usual.

Bad Teenage Mustaches

The irony of the bad teenage mustache is that these guys are always deemed "cool" because of their mustache. The only thing that would make me feel slightly less repulsed by the bad teenage mustache, is that when in their 20's and onwards, these men look bad and feel remorse for having made the public regard their prepubescent upper lip hairs on a daily basis.

Mixing the oil into a new jar of natural peanut butter

You would think they would leave a couple inches of oil-spill room. Hasn't anyone written to the peanut butter companies about this? I'm going to be that person. I've had enough.

Elevator "close door" buttons

I'm not sure I've ever encountered an elevator "close door" button that actually works. It's not that I'm in a rush, it's just that if you're going to put a button there, make it work!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

#16 - We're Home Owners!!

16: Buy a home

When people say that buying a home is stressful, I think they actually mean unnerving. I found it incredibly disconcerting to fall so hard for a condo and not know whether or not we could actually have it in the end! Because no matter how much you want it, someone else just might want it more (throw down a bigger offer if you end up in competition,) or just have luck on their side and get their offer accepted first (like we did!)

We got word of this place from our realtor the morning it was posted on the market (for realtors' eyes only), but before it was actually available to the public. We booked a viewing for the next day, and when we walked in, I believe my words were something like, "whooaaaahhaaOOOHH myyy god. Wow. Can we get it? I think this it, I want this place, Luc...I WANT IT!" Something resembling a little kid seeing a power wheels car for the first time. The really nerve-wracking part though, for me, was after signing countless documents with the realtor to get our offer in writing....then waiting to hear back from the sellers. Would they counter? Would they outright reject our offer? Would they accept right away?? Needless to say, it was a rather sleepless night and what followed was a distracted day at work, wherein I checked my cellphone more often than I check my twitter feed.

We had put in the offer at 8pm on Monday night, and by about 3pm on Tuesday afternoon we had received a counter from the sellers - and word from our agent that 3 other viewings had been arranged for the next day, two of which were second viewings. The good thing was, the counter-offer was fantastic, so we accepted it immediately, signed the documents, and were whisked away into more paperwork...a home inspection...more paperwork...yadda yadda yadda, we move in on November 24th!

The night that we accepted the offer, Luc and I played a little game called, "I'm most excited for..." The list was long and included things like:
-Having an island in the kitchen
-Being able to blow dry my hair without shorting out all of the power
-Being able to walk to work rather than take 2 skytrains and a bus
-The enormous patio (and the BBQ that we're going to put out there)
-Having in-suite laundry rather than battling it out with neighbours for washer time
-A concrete buliding...meaning, no worries about noise
-Having an ensuite bathroom so I don't have to walk into the dark, scary hallway at night

The only hard part left...waiting another 6 weeks to move in!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Movies made in 1995 were meant to be watched in 1995.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Home Decor Dilemma

I really like these lamps from Pottery Barn. Luc, unfortunately, does not like them one bit.

How does one circumvent her husband in order to buy something pretty?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Red Carpet Premiere!

This week marks the official debut of my married name in the publishing world. I wrote a series of articles for Granville Magazine called the Indie Theatre Guide, and the first two (Hollywood Theatre and Pacific Cinémathèqueof eleven articles were published this week. The series covers independent cinema in Vancouver, and I was lucky enough to visit and photograph just shy of a dozen of our local theatres.

The timing is great because the fall is my favourite season for movie-going—given that there's no snow on the mountains yet and it's too chilly to spend time at the beach. After Thanksgiving I intend to visit Fifth Avenue Cinema and catch a mid-week showing of the Social Network.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Listening to

"Mouthful of Diamonds" – Phantogram

Monday, October 4, 2010

Finders Keepers

Apartment lobbies are a funny thing — rented apartment buildings more so than buildings of owners. Upon entering the back lobby of our building on Friday we came across an immaculate, leather office chair. It was positioned in what I like to think of as the "free" zone. The precarious spot between the door and the sitting area that says, I'm not waiting to be taken outside by someone in particular, I'm just hanging around until someone (anyone) takes me. The parameters of the free zone are generally dictated by the table beside the lobby couch: on the table = free, beside the table = not for the taking. However, when oversized items are left out, it's hard to say. You're probably wondering if we took the chair. No, we already have enough crap in our apartment. Had it still been there the next day, it would have been tempting. So tempting, in fact, that the temptation would have outweighed the logical voice in my head that kept saying, Keep walking moron, you don't need another desk chair. I did, however, snatch up a 2-pack sample of the very shampoo and conditioner that I  happened to purchase last weekend. Today's findings: a single dryer sheet. I left that gem for someone else.