Category Archives: love

TV, beer and Aldo Lanzini

Three of the things I’ve been up to this month.

My fiance, Conor McCreery, a comic book creator and screenwriter, has been appearing on the Charles Adler show as a commentator on all things pop culture. Last week they wanted a female talking head to comment on Bridesmaids, a movie that I love, so I decided to give it a shot.  The day of I got super nervous, forcing Conor to play Adler and throw out all sorts of possible questions, over and over. I went to the studio armed with facts, and then, when we did the interview the questions were mostly personal opinion. No rehearsal on those, and no chance to show off all of my R&D. Once we got going, the nerves subsided (it’s easy to talk to a camera that doesn’t look back at you) and I was surprised by how much fun it all was. Now all I need is my own beer travel show.

My first two beer columns have been published in the Grid, and I have plans for more.  There is so much happening in craft and commercial brewing, so lots to talk about. The best part of this new gig has been how welcoming the beer community is — experts, writers and brewers all love what they do and don’t mind sharing their intel. In my latest column, on Barley’s Angels, I looked at women in the craft brewing industry and discovered that the act of making beer is totally girly. Unfortunately I couldn’t squeeze this fascinating history into the column, so I’m sharing it here:

Women parted ways with beer around the industrial revolution, when brewing ale, once the sole responsibility of the female, was moved into factories and drinking shifted from the home to the male-dominated pub. It’s a travesty, because beer is utterly feminine. High status females were the brewsters of chica in pre-Inca and Incan cities high up in the Andes, of Hekt in ancient Egypt, and in charge of the prestigious brewing trade in Babylon and Sumeria (modern day Iraq). Beer deities were always goddesses, never gods. Even the hyper-masculine Vikings favoured brewsters — Norse society law dictated that only women could own brewhouse equipment. Today, things are different. A 2004 Health Canada survey found that a quarter of men ages 19 to 50 drink beer, compared to eight percent of women, and men guzzle, consuming about 80 percent of all beer.

Anthropologist Alan Eames uncovered the female-dominated history of brewing — and more evidence is being unearthed every few years, like a recent discovery that high-ranking females were the brewmasters in pre-Incan societies.

Finally, I just finished up a piece for ELLE’s September issue exploring a fashion and pop culture trend — it was fun to research, and I’ll remain mum about what it is until publication, but I had the pleasure of discovering the work of Italian artist Aldo Lanzini.  His crocheted masks are mesmerizing and all about the construction of identity.

Check out this profile by Crane TV:


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Filed under beer, journalism, love, Toronto

Royal Ontario Museum Sleepover — a scary experience

Taking my 4-year-old nephew to the Royal Ontario Museum’s dinosaur-themed sleepover seemed like the perfect plan to win me the Favourite Auntie Award.  Not so, it turns out, if your nephew has an unnatural fear of just about every animal (dead or alive).

Still, we survived.  You can read the article I wrote about it here. Hot tip: Bring or make a fast friend the same age as your niece/nephew, and suddenly the “I want to go home to Mommy’s” dissapear.  It’s magic.  For more photos from the night, check out my ever evolving flickr page.

For those of you into such things, this event occurred about a year ago — but I just stumbled upon the article and thought I’d post it.

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Filed under family, journalism, love, thrifty, Toronto, travel

bachelorettes: where the wild things are

Expensive dinners, way too much booze, pretty frocks and (hopefully) some of your best girlfriends.  As weddings begin to rain down, showers and bachelorettes are more common in the city than backyard barbeques.

I dread these things, but after this season’s first such affair, I have to admit they’re worth the inevitable shrinking wallet.

Somehow that much alcohol, your closest girlfriends, and watching a girl you just met transform from a shrinking violet to a hot mess on the dance floor make for a scene that resembles your  first bar outings at 18 or 19.  One of you goes too hard and passes out early, getting kicked out of the nightclub by a bouncer; another makes out with a random Turkish boy, ten years her junior, later asking you if he was cute while texting him; at least one married spends the night plying men for free drinks just because; your most reserved mate gets super emotional and cries in the corner; while a sociopath dances alone, gyrating furiously, on an empty floor, like everyone is watching; and at the night’s end you hop into a cab and head to your boyfriend’s house to seriously seduce him – at least you think you did, it got a bit blurry after someone pulled out that joint.  This is what every girl’s night could be – but is ever more elusive with each year past thirty. Thank God weddings give us an excuse to reach back to that golden age of balls-out alcohol abuse.

the things you do for money

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Filed under love, thrifty, Toronto

Five-pin on Family Day: A photo essay

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Filed under cheap fun, clothes, family, love, thrifty

Love, Mom

Mom and Baby TGood afternoon Crystal:
Hope you are doing well and you had a nice dinner with your sisters last night.  Dad arrived home around 10:30 last night and it is great to have him back.  He was very tired and he looks better today.  Can you email us the name of the wind magazine (I couldn’t remember) Dad wants to know?
Well it was just like Christmas when I went home for lunch as Dad surprised me and brought up the sewing machine & table from the car.  I unwrapped it & gooed and gawed over it.  I brought the manual to work to look it over as I am not busy this afternoon.  Would love to pay hooky and play with my new machine instead but I only work here 2 days a week so that is not possible.
How is you work coming along?  Have you gone out lately?
Take care.
Love, Mom
mom and the girls
Letters from moms are a unique treasure: loving, surprising, zany, and often the pinnacle of passive-aggressiveness.  My mom’s emails from her reception desk are something I always look forward to, but she doesn’t have much of a passive-aggressive edge (mom, ya big softie).
That’s why I am in love with Postcards from yo momma.  Created by two friends after exchanging favourite emails from their moms, the blog posts real letters or instant messaging exchanges between moms and their offspring.  The site is so popular the creators (editor of and the New York Observer respectively) compiled the best into a book that I want.
Here are a few posts that made me laugh out loud:

Mom, Dad and Facebook: A Dangerous Combo

Mom: How do I unfriend on Facebook?
What, you only have like 8 friends, who do you want to get rid of.
That’s really none of your business, and I have 40 friends thank you very much.
That’s right, Dad has 8 heheh
Not for long!

Subject: Doggie Prozac Experiment, Part I

This morning I accidently took Spike’s pill. I feel a little light-headed but that’s about it. I wonder how he feels when he takes it. No wonder he just lays on Jared’s bed all day.

The Main Course

mom: sounds good to me, does he need a birthday dessert??
me: sure, how about a fortune cookie?
mom: i guess only if you are the fortune cookie–hee hee
me: OH MY GOD.
mom: lighten up –jk, jk…………
mom: why is it so gross, you’re not a little fortune cookie??? you could be a dumpling….or tofu
me: um but not a dessert!
mom: oh you’d rather be the main course??

Get me out of here!

Surprise, I am writing you an email.


I am guessing that you are wondering how come I’m doing this — it’s just because I am locked into my computer room and cannot get out.  I was trying to put a door knob on the door and got started, but the thing went completely closed as I was trying to see if it was going to fit — and now here I am having to stoop so low as to write an email to you to see if you could call someone to come get me out.  My phones, of course, are all in the other room. I thought that perhaps you could call Beverly and have her and Howie come over and get me out.  If you happen to have Tami’s number then call her.

Anyhow, can you get me out of here.  I guess I’ll just play games on the computer until someone lets me out of here.  Send me an email to let me know you are doing this for me.

You Can’t Handle the Meth

Mom: So what are you doing for New Year’s Eve?
Heading to Cleveland with some friends.
Are you going to the Flats?
No, probably heading to the Warehouse District.
Is that in the Flats?
No, it’s in the Warehouse district.  [lingering inactivity]
Is that where they do the meth parties?
What now?
Meth Parties. I heard there are all sorts of meth parties up in Cleveland.
No, no meth parties.
Just promise me you won’t go to any meth parties. You can’t handle meth.
I promise.

Cleaning Out The Closet

Me: I was sorting through my closet today and I thought it’s kind of funny that I have “vacation clothes” and “date clothes” when I neither date nor vacation.
Really???  Do you have “work clothes” and “gym clothes” in there too???  HA HAHHA HA HAHA AHAH A.
Not funny
Sorry, I couldn’t resist )

mom and me in BC