cait +tiff


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T / happy monday / the power of the press

I’ve been thinking a lot about how design and social activism intersect. It was a way for those early designers who smelled like patchouli to push forward peace, love and the anti-war movement during the 60s and 70s.  German and Swiss designers in post-War Europe embraced minimalism because they thought it was a way to transmit messages without the ideological crazy of their forebears.  Okay.  History lesson over.  Basically – I care about this topic again because a lot of money is being made from it right now, and in all the different ways.  And everyone wants a Future is Female T-shirt.  Some of it goes back to the right places.  Others, not so much (I see you Forever 21).  So here comes a cool lady whose company I’ve been watching for over the past year.  Pamela Bell is a self-taught screen printer who’s Prinkshop is killing it, especially in these dark days.  This biz is rooted in combining the perfect typeface with social activism.  So naturally, I was smitten.  And it all goes back to the causes we all support.

I live in a country that’s just re-discovering the power of voice.  And design is the most subversive voice of all.  So Ii I had all the time and money, there’d be screen printing stuffs coming this way.  Except I don’t really.  But at least I can scroll through and tell you all about it.  


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T / happy monday /

Artwork Credit: Print Magazine

Confession. I have been a font (sorry…typeface) nerd since I was tiny.  Yes.  High school publications were involved.  I won’t say which one because that will take the geek levels through the roof.  So when this little doco showed up on my daily blog roll, I may or may not have ecstatically clicked.  I also may have gotten equally excited about this font around 1995 too.  So if you’re the type of person who also get excited about fonts, this tiny video is adorable.  And if you feel like a deeper diver, this one (of course) and absolutely this one (the envy of all design careers!).


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T / happy monday* / craving hard

Photo Credit: Lucky Peach

*yes I know it’s Tuesday. But Cait’s still in Monday.  So ha.

You know those moments when you can’t get this one thing out of your head?  It’s not even for anyone’s birthday.  I just cannot get Funfetti cake out of my head.  I have never even had Funfetti cake before.  We don’t even have Funfetti in Canada.  It’s SPRINKLES.

I’m not a person who craves sweet things, but it’s one of those mornings (hello 150 burpees) and I’ve turned into a toddler.  Beyond the burpees, work is getting busy, so you’ll also notice I’m writing this on the wrong day, and I’ve turned into a slightly manic cake monster.

So I leave you with this – a tiny video on making the most famous sprinkle (sorry Funfetti) cake around: Christina Tosi’s Birthday Cake at Momofuku Milkbar.  It’s so iconic, it inspired a skin salve (which I have on right now because it’s an adequate replacement).  I’m going to make Cait eat it for me since she’s in NYC and I might even make an attempt at it myself.  If I ever get out of this chair.  Happy Monday…errr Tuesday.


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T / happy monday/ pride any time

Artwork Credit: Skyler Ray

I started going to Pride in Toronto when I was in highschool.  My best friend had just come out of the closet and we were just so lucky to be from a place that celebrated diversity in all of its ways and means.  It’s actually one of the biggest Pride parades in the world. That was 1999.  Flash forward 18 years and Pride has gotten COMPLEX (check out this podcast for a great episode on the topic).  And I’m so happy that it is.  Because it’s not just one thing.  There’s a reason why there’s a Q in there.

Another great thing that’s evolved over the past two decades is the spread of Pride all over the freaking world.  We just had our own party about it back in May.  Pride and LGBTQ culture means something different depending on where you are.  And I just love that there’s a little doco series all about that.  Gaycation!  Within your own borders or across the ocean, actress Ellen Page and her bestie travel the world, to learn from and discover all the different ways LGBTQ is seen and to expand their own horizons. It’s both her own story and the story of the world. It’s really well done.  And it’s online, which  means you can even celebrate Pride in the dead of winter, on your couch.  You can watch it all online here.  Happy binging.


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T / happy monday / just do it already

Photo Credit: Alice Gao

I am constantly urging myself to take risks and try something new.  I usually defy my level headed, even-minded Libran self for the daring Sagittarius.  What winds up happening is that I’ll choose to take a nap instead.  But I’m feeling itchy again.  Not the kind of itchy that involves high tailing it outta the Penh and into radically different climes (last year it was Turkey and Russia in the middle of a political hoopla).  This time it’s artistic risk.  And to me, that feels like even more is on the line.

What I’m getting to is that I really want to get into video.  Like super badly want to figure it out and produce something.  But the issue is what?

Which means I’m looking for inspo and of course the first place I’m heading to is Alice Gao.  I’m a huge fangirl and even though she’s known as a photog, she’s dabbled in the moving image as well.  These sumptuous little videos of the city are swoon worthy.  I wonder if I could paint this little corner of Southeast Asia in the same light.

And of course, these little guys involve coffee and wine.  Happy Monday, folks.

En Rose from Alice Gao on Vimeo.

Derek Lam 10 Crosby – Silent St from Alice Gao on Vimeo.


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T / happy monday / a little trippy

Photo Credit: Tiff Tsang

Line ups are bummers.  Mostly when they’re at the bathroom.  But even more so when you think your creative minded group of road trippers thinks they’ve stumbled upon something amazing and only they will be at on a weekday afternoon. But then it turns out that a hundred other people also wanted to see it at the same time as you.

This year, Desert X sprouted up in the Coachella Valley as part of a certain music festival that I’ve told myself I’m too cool for.  And our trip back to LA from Joshua Tree meant we had to make a stop.  With 17 artists and their installations spread across a very large and dry piece of land, we had to prioritize. Cue our design maven: Jane Heng!  One of our final stops was supposed to be Doug Aitken’s Mirage.  Looking over Palm Springs, this little ranch style bungalow was supposed to play with light and your minds.  Except a bunch of other people had the same idea as us.  So after some deliberation, we didn’t exactly get to see it (but check out that killer view!).  And then I stumbled upon this little video.  Same thing as seeing it for myself right?

Lesson learned: sunrise.


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T / happy monday / W4W, women for the world

Photo Credit: Bob Adelman

In a 24 hour period this weekend, I both finished up the Big Little Lies miniseries on HBO and watched the new addition to the DC comics-to-film series, Wonder Woman (with a wonderful group of women).  Also, the current American president pulled out of the Paris Agreement Climate Change.  I thought about what was going on in the world.  And I thought about what women and our shared experiences.  The professional world, our homes and our dailies.  Conclusion: women (Angela Merkel and friends, I’m looking at you) will be the ones to save the world.

This tiny little film by fashion blogger Down Under wunderkind Margaret Zhang fits exactly into what I’ve been thinking.  Happy Monday.

PS – Some other great stories about women: The Babysitter’s Club, How to Make an American Quilt, Thelma and Louise, Hidden Figures, Angry Indian Goddesses, The Joy Luck Club…just to name a few.


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T / happy monday / visual meditations

Photo Credit: Rich Stapleton for Cereal x Gap

If you asked 22 year old Tiff about meditation and mindfulness, she probably would have stared at you and said “I don’t exactly have time for that.”  In the background, her mother would have said “Tiffany’s been high strung since she was 2.”  This was a fact until this Tiff sailed past thirty.  End of third person monologue.

As a freelancer, I’ve been starting and stopping for the past six years.  When I was younger and nearing the end of a project, my heart would race a little.  Panic and some sort of crisis would set in.  Especially if there was no project on the horizon.  These days, I’ve learned that there is always a project on a horizon, even if I can’t see it.  Sometimes it’s there whether I want it or not.  Or most recently, the thing I needed but didn’t really want.  And in the best times it turns out to be the thing I needed and wasn’t necessarily looking for.

What on earth does career anxiety have to do with meditation?  Basically, I’ve come to terms with uncertainty.  There is no doubt about the help I’ve gotten from my 10 minutes of daily calm.

But sometimes I get my calm from looking at something.  Actually that happens quite a bit.  Which brings me to these little videos from my favourite minimalist biannual mag, Cereal.  They’re so simplistically photographed.  And while the soundtrack isn’t quite “fire crackling in the wind” or “babbling crook,”  the beat is entirely calming.  I could just stare at these and feel my amygdala get smaller. Happy Monday.

Y U K O N from Cereal on Vimeo.


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T / happy monday / sometimes you need a little paris

Photo Credit: Alice Gao

Maybe it’s because I’m in a little travel withdrawal.  Or perhaps a little annoyed that The XX decided to be in LA while I was San Francisco, and in San Francisco while I was in LA.  And that we missed Nicolas Jaar in Joshua Tree by a day.  Not cool. I also probably have a little bit of travel envy (care of this lady).  In any case, I miss seeing live music.  I’m in the middle of a massive craving and I haven’t managed to squeeze in a Rhiannon performance yet.

So I had to do a good solid binge on La Blogotheque.  They’re Take Away Shows (this is a fave) have been on my deck for the past few years, sometimes for a little taste of the City of Lights.  And this year, they unleashed their Soirée de Poche catalog, otherwise known as a series of Pocket Sized Evenings.  And I cannot believe they’ve been hiding years of acoustic live shows in intimate venues around Paris.  If you’re missing this kind of experience, and I know a few who are, then this is worth a binge.  Beirut, Vampire Weekend, Father John Misty.  All the favourites.  I can’t even begin to describe how happy these medium sized pieces of music make me.  Here’s a morsel.  You’ll also get a jolt and perhaps an addiction to Paris as well while you’re at it.