This Week In Wicker

Damn, dudes! This rattan swivel rocker is one of my favourite finds of the summer!

I thrifted it this morning and it’s now on my front porch, in the running for comfiest reading chair I’ve ever had. Every time I go inside to get something one of the cats settles right in.

Traveling, not-traveling and my favourite place in the world.

Around this time of year, I’m normally knee-deep in travel planning. I’m a pretty savvy budget-traveler, but this year I have some majorly expensive projects on the go, and can’t swing my usual August trip. I typically spend the last few weeks of the summer in Chiapas (southern Mexico) which is dear to my heart. I spend half the time in Palenque, staying in a hippie jungle compound and waking up with howler monkeys, and the other half in my favourite place in the world, San Cristobal, a colonial mountain town. I was just reminded of this story I posted to facebook on my last trip there, and thought I’d share.


Palenque ruins and a spider monkey (cuter than a howler monkey, but not nearly as terrifying.)

“If we survive this, it’ll make a pretty good story.”

We left San Cristobal on a bus at 8:30 a.m. for the one hour ride to the Tuxtla airport. About 20 minutes in, there was a group of Federales. We couldn’t take the normal route, they said, as there’s an indigenous uprising, and they’ve created a blockade. “What if we tried anyways?” asked the driver. “They might let you walk through, and meet another vehicle on the other side” agreed the head Federale. “Why not?” said the dozen of us on the bus. “We’ve got flights to catch.” A beautiful drive up the mountain led us to a backlog of maybe 20 vehicles. “No pase” said the other drivers. “I’ll check” said our intrepid conductor. He walks away. Comes back in 20 minutes, “We can walk across, but I can’t get a hold of a bus from Tuxtla to come get you yet.” We all get off the bus, unload our bags and trek through a mountain. It’s a Zapatista uprising, and we’re right in the middle of it. I see a hand-lettered sign…the Chamulan villagers are demanding drinkable water. There is whispered concern that the large group of indigenous protesters will insist we go back, but no, one of them removes one of the small boulders they’ve used to block the way, so we can roll our suitcases through. Now we walk a few kilometres down the mountain road, but there are no buses available to get us to Tuxtla. After about 40 minutes, we fight our way into an eight-passenger van with 20 others, and sit on our suitcases for the ride to town. Once we’re past another group of police, we’re able to get out of the van and flag down a taxi to the airport. The airport is so far out of town, that I briefly consider that we may be being kidnapped, but no, that’d be too much for one day. We make it to baggage check 7 minutes before the gates close. And now we wait another hour for our plane.

So here we sit in this tiny airport, thankful for our drivers, a group of peaceful protesters, the fact that I thought “I should pee before I leave this bus,” a beautiful mountain to walk through, no rain and drinkable water. And a good story.


Little pieces of my favourite place.


*The Indigenous Maya, like most of the indigenous peoples throughout the world are marginalized, often without clean drinking water, and have less opportunities to receive an education. A grassroots organization that I support is Schools for Chiapas, who work to educate indigenous children, empower women, plant food forests and create employment opportunities in Chiapas.





Vegan Tex-Mex Pasta Salad

I swear I only made dinner so I could use my Acapulco bowl.

This pasta salad is delicious warm or cold. It’d be great to take to a BBQ or a potluck, but double the recipe if you do!


Vegan Tex-Mex Pasta Salad


Your choice of pasta (enough to feed 6)

1 diced bell pepper

2 diced and seeded tomatoes

1 can of black beans

2 cups spinach

1 avocado

s&p to taste

For dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil

juice from 1 lime

1 tsp. cumin (or just wing it.)

½ tsp minced garlic, or a tsp garlic powder

hot sauce of your choice, or 1/3 of one diced and seeded jalapeño.

a pinch of raw sugar, if desired

s&p to taste

Optional: A cotija  or any other Mexican style cheese would be nice in this if you don’t need to keep it vegan. Cilantro would be good, too, if cilantro were good. 😉

Action Plan:

While you’re boiling the water for the pasta, fill a good sized mixing bowl with frozen corn kernels, an entire can of rinsed black beans, the tomatoes and a bell pepper.

For the dressing combine about 1/3 cup of olive oil with the juice of one small lime, a bit of finely minced garlic, pepper, sea salt, a couple of dashes of sriracha and around a teaspoon of cumin and a pinch of raw sugar.

When the pasta is cooked, leave it to drain and toss the bean and veg mixture into the cooking pot on low. Then add the pasta, dressing, and some fresh spinach to the pot and let cook for a couple of minutes. (I like a slightly wilted spinach in pasta, but if you don’t, throw that in at the very end.)

It was GOOD, y’all. And it took longer for me to write the instructions than it did to make the meal.

Zombie-Apocalypse Team and What’s In My Purse

I did one of those “What’s in your bag?” posts! What a dork.

My Gillian Welch purse (I picked it up at a show during the Harrow & The Harvest tour) isn’t overly big, but it’s READY. Trust me, you’re gonna want me on your zombie-apocalypse-team, cuz in addition to the stuff you see, there’s a pretty decent first aid kit in that pouch. I’m a walking pharmacy.

Screen shot 2017-07-22 at 3.10.59 PM.png

Embroidered change purse, GLOW IN THE DARK TOONIE, Day of the Dead wallet, keys, Bach Flower Rescue Remedy, hotel pen, Saje Immune Booster and Peppermint Halo for headaches, movie ticket, hand sanitizer, gum, reusable shopping bags and a granola bar for when I get hangry.

PS: My zombie apocalypse team has the following people, for the logical reasons listed. (*I’m kidding, I’m not really this way. But JUST IN CASE.

Dad: Good in a crisis, and a good shot. You’ve seen the Walking Dead. You know this a thing!

Uncles Kurt & Mark: Practical, could build a shelter out of scrap wood and old car parts. Uncle Kurt probably has a basement full of canned goods left over from Y2K, too.

Francine: My gardener friend, grows things, knows the uses of medicinal plants and knows how to attract and care for bees.

Kristen: My friend who’s a good cook and knows how to can things so we can SURVIVE.

My friends Tracy, Jenn and Karen who are at LEAST as organized as I am. WE CAN REBUILD. There’d be charts and graphs and an inventory system and whatever blankets we could scavenge would be perfectly folded.

Mark: The best chef of all of us. And knows his way around an outdoor grill.

Scott: We might need a judge in this new utopia.

Campbell: My fella. He’s not exactly handy, but he’s really strong. Whew! He can stay!

My friend Dave, cuz we love him so much and he’d otherwise never survive. He can take care of the cat colony. There’s obviously a cat colony.

Emily: She works on a farm and knows how to care for livestock!

Bestie Annette, cuz we’re gonna need a doctor.

(We’re accepting applications if you feel like you’ve got something to contribute!)

Remember when this was a post about my purse?








Willie Watson

Whirlwind decision-making there, Ayns.

It was a lazy afternoon at the shop and I was glancing through facebook to avoid doing any actual work, when I saw a post about the upcoming Willie Watson tour. He’s one of my only favourite musicians that I haven’t seen live, so I thought I’d better check the tour dates. If you’re a fan of old folk and Americana music, high and lonesome vocals, guitar playing and banjo picking, or if you just like people who look like they’ve time-travelled to the present from the 30s Dust Bowl, I think you should check him out, too.

Screen shot 2017-07-21 at 3.55.15 PM.png

I didn’t figure he’d be playing Canada, but I thought I’d look. There were no Canadian dates, but then I saw that he’d be playing in Seattle (WHERE MY BEST FRIEND LIVES) on September 15th (WHICH IS THE OFFICIAL ALBUM RELEASE DATE) so I checked flight prices from Winnipeg to Seattle, figuring it was probably gonna be too spendy. $310 (Canadian) RETURN. I texted my fella to ask if he wanted to go, but he can’t get away. I texted my bestie Annette, to see if she and her family would be in town and up for visitors that weekend. She didn’t respond within 14 seconds so I bought myself a flight, three tickets for the show and hoped for the best. (I was very excited and I am not patient.) Luckily, I heard back from her, and she, her husband and I will be going to see Willie at the Fremont Abbey Arts Center!

This all happened in about 4 minutes.

It looks like this summer my bucket list for bands and musicians is going to be complete! (Until I find more favourites…the world is full of possibilities.)


Bob Dylan

John Prine

Gillian Welch & David Rawlings

Levon Helm

Kacey Musgraves


The White Stripes

The Who

Beck (tickets for August 2017!)

Willie Watson (tickets for September 2017!)






Yard Sale-in’

How to host a successful yard sale/garage sale.

Yard sales can be a real pain in the argus and for some folks they just aren’t worth it. I usually make around $1000 at my bi-annual(ish) yard sale, so for me, it’s worth the aggravation. Lots of folks have asked me why my yard sales are so successful and how it’s possible to make as much as I do at them. I’m gonna let you in on all of my tried and true tips! (Tip one: It helps if you have cool stuff. 😉)
There’s lots of time left this summer to host your own sale and get rid of all that schwag that you don’t love anymore, so let’s get to it!


  • Get organized. Start gathering stuff and planning for your sale about a month before you want to have it. If you don’t have enough stuff to fill at least 6 tables, get your neighbours and friends involved. Almost everyone has stuff they can get rid of. Many people will see a piddly yard sale and simply drive past it, so the bigger the better.
  • You’ll need supplies: price stickers, markers, signs or poster board and stakes for advertising, tables, tablecloths (actually important!), a box of handy-wipes is a plus, a float of about $50-100 in change, plastic ziplock baggies in a couple of different sizes (good for jewelry and other small items and keeps everything neat) change rollers for after the sale and a cash box or a money belt of some kind. You can buy all of this stuff at any dollar store.
  • Dust/clean everything you’re including in the sale.
  • Price EVERYTHING, ideally well before you’re setting up your tables. You will 100% NOT have time to price stuff as you put it out. Yes, it takes some work, but most people won’t ask the price and you’ve just lost a ton of sales. I often invite some friends over to help me price stuff about a week before I host the sale. They get wine and munchies and first dibs on stuff, I get much appreciated help! It’s okay to have cheaper items thrown in bins marked with a price (ie. everything in this box 25 cents each!) If you’re about to price something for a nickel, consider putting it in a free bin.
  • As you price stuff, try to keep like items together. Dishes in one box, books in another, etc. This will make set up day much easier.
  • Arrange for tables. Borrow what you need to. You can set boards across chairs, use your patio furniture, sawhorses and boards, the kitchen table, crates, tv tables, card tables…gather as many display surfaces as you can. Buy cheap, solid colour vinyl table cloths from a dollar store or white sheets at a thrift store to cover the tables. The cohesion really makes a HUGE difference in displaying the items, which makes people buy more stuff.
  • Set up a plan for what you’re going to do with the stuff that DOESN’T sell. Is there a donation centre nearby? Are there any orginazations you support that are accepting donations for their own yard sale, or who donate it to those in need?
  • Be ruthless in your pricing. This is stuff you don’t need anymore, so aim to get rid of it. People will buy way more of your stuff if the prices are great. If you have some really rare or unusual items for sale, check to see if you can find similar items online, and price a little lower. Occasionally I’ll have an item still unused and in its box, and when I do, I find the item online, print out the ad/price for it and stick it on the box. Then I’ll price whatever I’m getting rid of at 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of new.
  • Leave a little leeway in your pricing so that you can wheel and deal.
  • I usually make a sign for items like books (ie. 25 cents for small paperbacks, $1 trade paperbacks, $2 hardcovers or as priced!) Then I price any rare, recent or huge books individually, and try to keep those in an accessible spot near the other books. CDs and DVDs I usually price in the same manner. Very new/recent dvds I’ll price up to $8, but most DVDs I’ll price at $3-$5. CDs I usually do between $1-4. There’s not as much of a market for CDs and DVDs now, so take what you can get.
  • Make big, bright signs! I use neon poster board with huge black block letters. I make about 6-8 double sided signs (One piece of poster board folded in half makes a decent, visible size plus folding it over makes it sturdier.) I put these at either end of my street and then at the main thoroughfares on the busiest street near my house.
  • My signs usually read “Yard Sale!” (Or “Garage Sale”) followed by the address, date and time. Add arrows as necessary. You may want to leave the date off entirely, then you can reuse your signs next time. Make sure to remove them when your sale is over!
  • Don’t let your kids make the signs, unless they have unbelievable penmanship. A crappy sign done on a piece of cardboard in illegible crayon-scrawl is not doing you any favours. Get kids to help by having them make signs for their own sale table, where they call sell their own stuff. (Help them with pricing.) Kids can also sell lemonade or freezies. It’ll make ’em happy, they’ll make a few bucks and it’ll lend to the atmosphere of your sale.
  • While you’re sign-making, make one that says “Early birds pay double. I’m serious.” Or if you’re feeling generous tell them they can help set up tables or do some other work for you.
  • Post about your yard sale on free sites like Craigslist or Kijiji.
  • I always create an open event listing on facebook, and invite friends. I also encourage them to invite their friends. I will link to this on my own facebook page every couple of days leading up to the sale.
  • I always create a few posters on the computer talking up the sale. Include the address, date and time of the sale, and list the types of items for sale. I always include something goofy on the posters; “Shopaholic is Downsizing! Come take advantage of amazing prices on…blah blah yadda yadda.” I get the posters (about 25) printed at my local copy shop on brightly coloured paper, then I post ’em in my neighbourhood and in nearby neighbourhoods. This helps get people pumped for the sale.
  • I always like to say on my posters and on any online advertising that it’s cancelled if raining, and will be rescheduled. I don’t write it on my poster board signs, cuz if it there’s rain in the forecast, I’m not gonna put those up anyway. I’ll just fix ’em for next time.


  • The evening before, make some wraps or sandwiches for you and your helpers. You’ll be busy, and you’ll need lunch the next day!
  • Have your boxes of sale items plus any larger items in one area of your house so they’re ready to go in the morning.
  • If your sale starts at 9, plan to start setting up at 7 at the latest. It always takes longer than you think. Get help from friends or loved ones!
  • Set up your “Early Birds Pay Double!” sign. Some jerks will still start opening boxes of your stuff. Accept that they were raised in a barn.
  • Set up your tables! (I usually sketch out a layout of where I’m going to place the tables beforehand. This is definitely overdoing it, but it’s WHO I AM.)
  • Cover your tables in the vinyl tablecloths or the white sheets you’ve purchased. This seems like a crazy step, but this makes all the difference. It adds a sense of cohesion and a well thought-out feel to your sale. Looks matter! You will get more sales when you follow this tip.
  • Try to keep like items together. Dishes all in one spot, books in another, board games in another, etc. I keep small items like jewelry in individual ziplock bags and small, expensive items near the cash table. If you have a friend or two helping you, try to have one stick close to this table at all times. People do sometimes steal from yard sales, so be aware.
  • If you have any small signage (ie. “All CDs $2!) tape those up.
  • Put eye catching, larger items close to the front. (I put that kind of stuff on the boulevard between the street and the sidewalk that passes my house.)
  • Make it an event! Be cheerful, play music in the background if you wish (not too loud, and not too crazy. 50’s and 60’s stuff works, cuz people get happy when they can hum along to stuff. Really.) Sell coffee and donuts in the a.m. or lemonade or freezies later in the day. I like to make my yard sales seem like a party!


  • There’s not a lot of worthwhile traffic after 12 pm. I start my sales at 9 and end them at 2. You can stay open as long as you want, but it’s likely that you’ll be standing around for an extra few hours in order to make 26 bucks.
  • Remember to stay hydrated!
  • Don’t forget to take down your signs when your sale is over! You don’t want your yard full of weirdos when you wake up NEXT weekend. Or maybe you do, I don’t know you that well yet.

Have fun… and let me know how it goes!





Mango Guacamole “Recipe”

Screen shot 2017-07-19 at 5.37.01 PM.png

When I say “recipe,” I mean it in the loosest sense of the word. I mean, who am I to tell you what to do? You do you. But, if you want to be a hit at parties, bring this guac.

If I were a real recipe creator/food photographer I’d have staged this photo with some gorgeous homemade, organic, blue corn tortilla chips shaped like Frida Kahlo’s eyebrow, but the avocados were ready RIGHT FUCKING NOW so I popped over to the Sev and bought whatever tortilla chips they had.

The mango in this recipe sounds weird, but it really takes this guac over the top.

Mango Guacamole:


4 avocados

1 large tomato, seeded

1 mango

Garlic (I usually use around 1/2 a teaspoon of garlic powder for this, but a couple of minced cloves of fresh garlic is also great. Depends on how pungent you wanna be. Like I said, YOU DO YOU.)

Hot sauce of your choice, to taste (I use Sriracha, cuz it’s always in my house.) Or use a finely diced and seeded jalapeno.

Lime juice (start with a teaspoon and see how it tastes. Adjust to taste. (Use fresh or bottled, I don’t judge. Well, I do, but not about lime juice.)

Sea salt (start with 1/2 a teaspoon and adjust to taste. Overdid it a bit? Add some more tomato.)


Dice and seed tomatoes and dice the mango. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mash your avocados with the garlic, lime juice, hot sauce (or jalapeno) and salt. I use a potato masher for this. It’s not a LOT more efficient than a fork, but it’s more fun.

Add your tomato and mango, and adjust your seasoning to your taste.

¡Buen provecho!







So many things, so few places to put them.

I live in a small house (900 & something square feet) and if my stuff weren’t so cool, I’d be reaching borderline hoarder status. (HOARDERLINE status?)

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 9.20.12 AM

I try to be really good about getting rid of stuff and am a firm believer in what William Morris said; “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” The trouble is, I find a LOT of stuff to be beautiful. As the buyer for the shop where I work, I’m constantly on the lookout for amazing items. A hazard of the job is finding stuff I love for myself all the time. AND GETTING IT WHOLESALE. I’m better at restraining myself than I used to be, but I’m a hardcore maximalist and it goes against my nature. I also have a tiny little side business selling vintage decor & kitchenware, so I’m constantly thrifting/antiquing/yard sale-ing and trying not to keep all the best stuff for myself.

Both sides of my family are collectors, so I come about it honestly…possibly genetically. (IF I CAN BLAME MY HOARDER NATURE ON MY MOTHER, YOU BETTER BELIEVE I’M GONNA DO IT.) My mom is currently collecting “ugly pitchers” to display on top of her kitchen cabinets. (You know the ones shaped to look like fruit and veg? Yeah, those.) My dad collects Indigenous art (mostly Canadian.) My grandpa Dave collected stamps, my Grandmere collects spoons. My aunt Laureen collects salvaged metal, glass vases and vintage lamps and turns them into upcycled garden art (You can see some of her stuff on “Upcycling The Globe” on facebook!) This is the latest piece I need to have:


I collect art, records, books, Day of the Dead stuff, Holt Howard cats (I don’t know how it happened) and dishes. Lots and LOTS of dishes. Subcategories of dishes! Fiestaware, the Acapulco pattern from Villeroy & Boch, Mexican talavera, and the Pyrex Friendship pattern. Oh, and red, orange and yellow Pyrex. That should be enough, surely.

But I recently started buying CathrineHolm stuff. Whhhhhhhy? I told myself I wouldn’t do it, because even though I love it SO much, it is way too spendy for me. It’s a small amount so far (I’ve never seen ANY in the wild) but I’ve got 2 bowls right now. I have two platters on the way, and my fella bought me a sweet dutch oven casserole thing for my upcoming birthday. (He thinks I don’t know, but I know.)

Whoa, where’d the time go? The thrift store near me opens in 5 minutes and #OnTuesdaysWeThrift. Gotta go look for some ugly pitchers with my mom. And maybe some CathrineHolm? Wish me luck, if I find anything amazing, I’ll let you know!

Screen shot 2017-07-20 at 1.00.40 PM





Nine-Word Reviews: Baby Driver & War For The Planet Of The Apes

I might tell a long-winded story every once in a while, but there’s something to be said for being succinct. By the way, this was going to be called ‘Ten-Word Reviews’ and I thought myself quite clever for thinking it up. Turns out there’s an entire website dedicated to ten-word reviews. It’s called (wait for it…) TEN WORD REVIEWS. So, nine it is! SCREW YOU, EXTRA ADJECTIVE! I NEVER LIKED YOU ANYWAY!

Baby Driver: Not a think piece, but really fun! Kickass soundtrack. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

War For The Planet Of The Apes: Apes are badass, “Dawn” was better. Still, Hail Caesar. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Do you have any movies to recommend?