cait +tiff

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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.

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T / happy monday / back home

Artwork Credit: Heather Sundquist.

It’s still Monday somewhere, right?  In fact I think it’s still Monday where Cait is, so this post still reaches its deadline.

I am back.  At home (or rather, the office). In Cambodia.  We arrived in the dead of night, and of course this brain decided to turn on promptly at 4am.  I wasn’t quite sure where I was for the first 30 seconds.  Which Airbnb?  What part of California?  But the moment I stepped into the living room of our little wooden house in Phnom Penh, there was a sigh of relief.  I was home.

This three week trip through the western edge of the United States was exactly what I needed.  In four words: I GOT TO SEE CAIT.

But it was time for me to come back, hit the restart button and start contemplating a new normal.  I can’t wait to share with you every single new thing, and all of the discontents (read: anxiety and excitement in equal measure) that accompany change, uncertainty and forward movement.

In the meantime, here’s a little sonnet about home, from a favourite singer of mine, in his gorgeous little abode in the little neighbourhood that caught me just three weeks ago.  I hope your home is a sanctuary too.

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T / happy monday / blank canvas

Photo Credit: Tiffany Tsang

This past weekend, I got to visit a place which is about to be turned into something spectacular. I can’t really talk about it in detail now, but I wanted to talk about all the feelings that came with having a a blank canvas right in front of you.  Invited as part of a group of interested persons; stakeholders, creatives, investors, techies and innovators, my ever entrepreneurial, community-building friend wanted us to see all the potential that was just a 10 minute drive from our bubble, in a part of town I rarely, if ever, have been down.

I’d heard about it, whispers, glimpses on social media, for the past couple of weeks.  But then it was, right in front of me.  Asking, begging, waiting to have paint splashed all over it, photoshoots, trampolines, speakers blaring all the beats and creative production.  It reminded me of growing up in Toronto, which, like any post-industrial city, has a bunch of old and abandoned buildings.  It made me think of all the re-purposing that the fossils of industry have undergone of some of the world’s hippest cities.  Not only that, but past sites of conflict, sites of desolation.  Isn’t it disruptive?  The ultimate rebellion to create beauty out of something previously deemed as inconsolable?

Getting to see a place like this opened up all the feelings I needed to keep moving and getting all the work done.  Because once I get rid of this To Do List, I can start playing again, and I know exactly where I am going to do it.
















So in celebration of place and spaces that beg to be splashed upon.  I give you this white space.  I hope it inspires you to fill it with colour, noise, people and ideas. Because that’s exactly what I wanted to do this weekend. Have fun.

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T / happy monday / hot thoughts

Photo Credit: Feist.

Some really good albums from a couple of my all time favourite bands came out over the past month.  And I got to spend a lot of time in a car with them this past weekend.  These bands were the soundtrack to my late teens and early 20s and are so telling about my early millennial status.  I discovered Spoon while watching The OC.  Then I found The Shins when I fell in love with Zach Braff and his Garden State.  I met Dirty Projectors when I moved to Cambodia and met all the young things from Brooklyn.  And the story of Tennis fell into my lap while I was living the hipster wannabe story in London.  Don’t you love it when music comes with a time and a place?  True story: I catalog all of my music by the month and year it came into my life.  There is indeed a soundtrack to my life.  Not joking.  I might actually be John Cusack from High Fidelity in the multiverse.  Or Kevin Smith.

Oh right, Feist is coming out with her new album next month.  22 year old Tiff is going nuts.   Here are the faves from everything I am spinning this week!

Spoon – Hot Thoughts, from their album of the same name.

The Shins – Name for You, from Heartworms.

Dirty Projectors – Cool Your Heart (ft. Dawn) from their self-titled album.

Tennis – Ladies Don’t Play Guitars, from Yours, Conditionally.

Feist – Pleasure, from her forthcoming album of the same name.

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T / happy monday / not for you

Photo Credit: Tiffany Tsang

Photo Credit: Tiffany Tsang

I got this video from Cait and it is exactly what I wanted to see this month.  I’ve done something athletic since I was tiny.  I think my parents knew I had to get that excess energy out somehow.  And eventually it became part of my identity.  I had to always be moving.  But it’s also forged this resilience in me so I know that I can get through whatever obstacles that life throws at me.  This month I’m challenging myself beyond what I’m used too.  But this isn’t about that.

This is about getting moving in every way possible.  And celebrating all the women who are moving, building, creating, and surmounting. Including you.  You can start anytime.  And you don’t have to be Serena Williams, Sheryl Sandberg or Anna Wintour.  When I think about these women, and the amazing young female entrepreneurs here too, they did it for themselves and their achievements have spread to others too.  And there is no better time than now.

There’s been a few words I’ve been repeating to myself, to keep everything in check: that only person you’re competing against is yourself; that you are your only boundary; and practice, fail, practice, fail, practice, succeed.

It’s exactly what this little video from ESPN-W celebrates (as well as ladies who lift!).  It’s inspiring me more than anything today.  Can you tell that I’m in this weird hyper motivated space?  I blame this video (and therefore Cait!)

I also just discovered that the Notorius RBG gets moving too.  And that makes me really happy.

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T / happy monday / meanwhile in india

Photo Credit: Haubtitz and Zoche

Photo Credit: Haubtitz and Zoche

How we view a place often comes from experience an inputs.  Here are a couple of things to disrupt what you might know about India.  Great photography, light and the best soundtracks also help.

The first thing: sk8ter girls and champion athletes. Wild Beasts is a favourite band.  Nike is a sports brand I’ve come to appreciate.

WILD BEASTS – ALPHA FEMALE from Sasha Rainbow on Vimeo.

The second thing? Urban beauty and aerial views.

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T / happy monday / how to help

Artwork Credit: Libby VanderPloeg.

Artwork Credit: Libby VanderPloeg.

There is nothing more exciting than a creative collaboration.  And on top of that, nothing better than when it’s for a good cause.  Even though the situation in the US might be cloudy with a chance of meatballs for the time being, refugees and other new arrivals arrived not long before the gates closed, and will continue looking for safe haven across the West.

I grew up in ultra diverse Toronto where virtually everyone was a new arrival.  And the one thing I will always remember is how generous my mother was to every mom in making sure their kids got the right start.  This is how you get your kid into the best public junior high; they offer free swim classes at that community center; the city offers free heritage classes for your [insert Farsi, Russian, Tamil, Hindi]-speaking kid so they don’t lose their culture; this is a better apartment block than that one; do you need a ride somewhere?  The list was endless and it’s probably why I’m not too shabby at the listicle.

The best stories are happening all over.  But it might be hard to figure out where to start.  Thank you Libby VanderPloeg for this tiny little infogram.  You might have met Libby before as one of my favourite lady artists.  Ever since the hail started this past January, Libby’s been illustrating all the feelings and all the tools in support of all the movements (see this amazing GIF she made to support women’s involvement in political movements).


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T / happy monday / the female gaze


Photo Credit: Leeor Wild

What differentiates me from another photographer?  And more specifically: What differentiates me from a dude photographer?  It’s one of the main things I still think about every time I pick up my camera.  Through a few little life lessons, I’m starting to get it.  The difference, that is.  Because there is one and I started thinking about it a few months ago.

And I’m glad that people are finally beginning to take notice.  More specifically, I’m glad that lady photographers are beginning to take notice.  When peeps at my home town photographer collective The Creator Class shared this video, I was through the roof.  The Female Gaze. It is a thing.  It’s about how you shoot.  How you might make your models feel.  Empowerment is a big theme.  Stories too.  And seeing beyond the skin (especially when your photos involve a lot of that like mine sometimes do).  I’m so thrilled there’s now a forum for this and that people are indeed talking about it.  Yipppeee.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.