April 14th, 2016

Food and Drink | Topic Night

Savio Volpe 750

Every four weeks or so, a few of my closest girlfriends and I get together for dinner and drinks with a twist (on the evening, though sometimes also on the cocktails). We don’t have a good name for it — we often refer to it as Topic Night or Hot Topic — but it’s been such a great catalyst for interesting discussions that it’s become a beloved part of our schedules. Each time we meet, one of us is tasked with coming up with a topic to discuss; a friend who’s a creative lead at a major retailer chose fast fashion (at Les Faux Bourgeois), another who’s passionate about health chose the future of food (at Savio Volpe) — it can be anything at all. It’s kind of like the tiniest of TED talks.

Last night, at Grapes and Soda, I chose to talk about the nitty gritty of creativity. I broke it up into three questions. The first: what does your creative practice (sounds so pretentious, but hey!) look like? Do you get up at 4:00am every morning to sit at your computer while the city is still asleep and write for a few hours before your kid wakes up? (I have a friend who does this. Her dedication blows my mind.) Do you wait until you’re up against a deadline and then grab the biggest mug of coffee you can find and ride a wave of adrenaline and caffeine as you power through your task? That’s how I used to worked — I loved doing it that way. I miss doing it that way. Especially when I had an expanse of four or six hours when I could focus on nothing else. Now that I have two tiny little ones I’ve had to completely change how I get things done. I front load everything, get it out of the way as soon as I can because I never know if one of them is going to be up all night refusing to sleep, or up all day refusing to nap. I feel like I have no control over my schedule which has forced me to be very disciplined about the way I work.

Grapes and Soda

The second: how do you avoid burnout? That was a tough one. A few of my girlfriends are advocates of sabbaticals. One heard a theory that as long as you relax by doing the opposite of what you do all day, you can achieve some sort of balance. Another heard that as long as you’re not sacrificing whatever it is that’s most important to you, you’ll be able to withstand burnout. We talked in hypotheticals because none of us had actually managed to avoid it. We’d all felt it. Does it just come with working in a creative field?

The third: how do you feed your creative confidence? This was a funny one because we all approached it so differently. One of my girlfriends will always leave a sketchbook partly unfinished because as long as it’s a work in progress, she won’t judge it. When I paint I take the opposite approach — I try to fill up a book as quickly as possible to maintain momentum. If I stopped to evaluate what I was doing then I’d probably give up and where’s the fun in that? Another girlfriend advocates for being bold, pushing the boundaries, even if that means your work might go down in a blaze of glory, at least it made an impact.

Topic Night: such a terrible name for such a wonderful tradition.

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April 10th, 2016

The Cool Kids | Vancouver’s Own

WuChild Wrap

I never thought I’d have this much fun dressing my kids. I don’t have nieces or nephews to buy for, and my girlfriends didn’t start having kids until around same the time I did, so I never paid much attention to the kids’ department (unless I was doing a segment on the subject). As it turns out, Vancouver has some of the most amazing gear for little ones — colourful, adorable, and full of personality.

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Like Wuchild‘s geometric wrap (in the top photo) and their #parklife tees, which my kid often wears with some sort of brightly coloured poofy skirt (thank you, Wuchild!).

Redfish Onesie

And the beautifully designed, impeccably made pieces at Redfish Kids, whose babywear makes a unique gift (thank you, Team Hawksworth!).

Redfish Dress

Their clothes are a hit with my almost three year old and she is very particular about what she wears. It’s rare she’ll wear anything that isn’t pink or, you know, sparkly, but she loves this striped blue dress (she’s wearing it as a write this, in fact). Maybe because it’s so flowy, it feels like a princess dress even if it doesn’t look like a princess dress? Who knows.

Native Shoes

She wears it, as she does most things, with her pink Native shoes, her third pair of the things. They get mad props because they work at the waterpark, at the pool, and in this rainy city in general. Plus, even chubby uncoordinated toddler hands can get them on without a grownup’s help. Have they taken over playgrounds in other cities? Because boy, do they dominate here.

Want more of Vancouver’s stylish kids’ wear? You’ll find it here.

[First three photos by Hayley Hudson, last photo from @KelseyDundon on Instagram]

April 4th, 2016

Style | Three Takes on One Trend

KD on set

But first, menswear! It’s not often I get to talk about it, but it is often I think of it fondly. The styles are so classic (masculine, you might say); the pieces rely heavily on colour and texture; trends shift much more slowly than in womenswear. There’s a timelessness to it all that I appreciate.

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Besides, it brings out my best Shopping Channel skills.

Global Set

It’s pure joy as far as I’m concerned. The menswear I featured in my latest trend segment on Global BC is from Boys’Co.

Dress forms

The womenswear? From left to right: Geox (those boots are a pair I desperately want in my closet), H&M (a vibe that has me dreaming of Coachella, which I haven’t been to in years), and Gap (with a bandana from the men’s section, no less).

Watch the clip!

KD and bomber

Thanks for having me, Global BC and Metropolis at Metrotown. Thanks for the photos, Zoe Tisshaw, and thanks for your help, Jerome Insorio!

March 30th, 2016

Pinstagram | U-S-H-E-R R-A-Y-M-O-N-D

The Anthology’s Pinstagram column marries the dream (Pinterest) and the reality (Kelsey Dundon’s Instagram photos of places and faces in and around Vancouver).

Army green

#OOTD. Wearing an Usher shirt to the Bieber concert + a more dressed-up take on army green.

Tiles and beach glass

Sea glass. A colourful mosaic scene of Vancouver + colourful beach glass.

Blues

Icy blues. I pulled bright whites and light blues at Club Monaco for a recent trend segment + an icy blue look that gives me chills.

Babies and beasts

Babies and beasts. A typical scene on my office floor + one of my favourite things: a napping baby.

Ice cream

We all scream for…I made ice cream sandwiches with two flavours from Earnest Ice Cream + some sweet lettering.

P.S. There are more photos where these came from so follow @KelseyDundon on Instagram.

March 30th, 2016

You asked | How do I start writing again?

KD office 750

M writes:

I recently heard you speak and your experiences deeply resonated with where I am in my life. I will be graduating this fall and I feel as if I have been “waiting until I know what I am doing”, which has led me to do nothing. Last year my USB drive was stolen, which contained everything from my most updated resume to all my essays and notes. 

Currently, I am still lost and trying to figure out where my passions lie. However, I do know I can write, and that most of my professors and teaching assistants have always enjoyed my linguistic articulation. I want to start writing again, but for myself, and to rediscover my voice to see where it can take me. Do you have any advice to impart? 

M,

Start where you are. Start something. It doesn’t matter that you’re figuring it out as you go along. Every artist, company, brand, what have you, is adjusting course constantly. The landscape is always shifting so it’s fine to begin without having a fully formed idea of what you want to create, to adjust your approach on the fly. I’d argue it’s better that way because it means you’re adapting. You’ll figure out your focus (or lack thereof) when you’re deeply immersed in it, after you’ve floundered for a bit and realized what feels like a chore and what you find exciting.

Don’t worry about the fact that you lost your resume (I’d recommend creating a Linkedin profile if you haven’t already) and though it’s frustrating that you lost your essays, don’t let that discourage you. I never submitted a single essay to a prospective employer or client because the style is so specific, it’s just not that relevant to any writing job I’ve had in the real world.

The work you do from here on out will be more valuable to you.

I wonder if you, like me, find it easier to write when you have a specific project that’s been assigned to you. I know I prefer when someone else sets the parameters, which I think is actually my fear of setting my own criteria because that would mean I’d have to measure myself against myself and that prospect is frightening. If there’s one thing a literature degree does, it’s make you very, very critical of your own writing.

I have no answer for how to fix that. I just battle through it.

And I read a lot about writing. I loved On Writing by Stephen King when I read it way back when. Recently I found Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert inspiring; the first is more practical, the second is more rah-rah-you-can-do-it. I also love JK Rowling’s Twitter feed. The moral I gleaned from every one of them? Each author has been overcome by self-doubt but they’ve all pushed through it. They’ve collected rejection letters and bad reviews like badges of honour. And they kept on going.

Just start. And then keep going. Your perseverance will get you there, even if you don’t know right now where “there” is.

March 27th, 2016

Bookmark | DeSmitten Design Blog

In The Anthology’s Bookmark column we explore some of the most inspiring places on the wild, wild web.

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I admire minimalism, perhaps because I am not a minimalist. My instincts lean toward more so I respect those who gravitate towards less. 

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Maybe that’s why I find DeSmitten so refreshing.

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By Brooklyn-based fashion designer and writer Christina De Smet, it’s crisp, clean and very tightly edited. It’s filled with fashion (which makes sense).interior-inspiration-house-d-by-Bataille-iBens-1-1

Peppered with interior design, beauty and most importantly…

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Charlotte Gainsbourg, the coolest of the cool. So bookmark DeSmitten already and bookmark The Anthology while you’re at it.

[Images from DeSmitten.]

P.S. Beef up your list of favourite links with The Anthology’s Bookmark picks.

March 21st, 2016

Diary | On Messing Up Royally

Kelsey Dundon International Women's Day SFU

When I was invited to be a keynote speaker at Simon Fraser University’s Young Women in Business International Women’s Day Conference I started thinking back to when I was a student. I remember having two distinct (and not exactly complementary) mindsets: I was convinced I knew absolutely everything and I was convinced I knew absolutely nothing.

There must be some sort of magic in that mix of overconfidence and insecurity because it enabled me to blaze forward and make so many mistakes. Seriously. So many. And that is exactly what I spoke about at the conference: all those moments when I said the wrong thing, pushed myself too far, made the wrong move, but that freed me somehow.

KD YWiB

I’ll give you an example that goes way back to grade eight (the same year I bought my favourite Halloween costume, in fact). I went to a high school that was outside my catchment area so I knew two people shy of nobody. I wanted to run for student council so I got up in front of my entire school – everyone in grades eight through 12 – and while I can’t remember what I said in my pitch, I distinctly remember saying “This school has a lot of potential.”

Because that line got me booed off stage.

And I think that’s why I’m not afraid of public speaking – the worst has already happened. I was jeered by the coolest grade 12s (and everyone else) when I was the youngest, most easily intimidated grommet. Had I not messed up so bad I would have been spared that awkward awkward! moment, but instead I was freed by it.

Thanks for having me, Young Women in Business!

March 18th, 2016

Style | Spring Trend Report

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Spring! It’s almost spring! Which means it’s time to peel yourself out of that rain slicker you’ve been wearing all winter and slip into something a little lighter and brighter.

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Like, say, some deluxe denim from Club Monaco with a pair of flats from Aldo (on the left), a dress with lots of lace in unexpected places from BCBGMAXAZRIA (middle) and ’70s statements from Michael Kors (right).

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These were three of the biggest trends I featured in my spring trend report on Global BC.

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And while this is how I look on air — in a dress with studded sleeves from Picadilly Canada, shoes from Aldo, necklace from Adia Kibur and Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella

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…this is what I look like when I’m pulling it together backstage: wearing one of my favourite concert tees (yes, it’s New Kids on the Block and yes, I went to their show as an adult), J.Crew jeans and high tops c/o of Ecco.

Watch the segment here. Thanks for having me, Global BC and Metropolis at Metrotown! Thanks for the photos, Zoe Tisshaw! Thanks for your help, Jerome Insorio!

March 15th, 2016

Pinstagram | Stripes and Strawberries

The Anthology’s Pinstagram column marries the dream (Pinterest) and the reality (Kelsey Dundon’s Instagram photos of places and faces in and around Vancouver).

Baby wearing

Like Zach. I owe the fact that I’m able to work with a three-month-old baby to that BabyBjorn she loves so much + a variation on the same theme.

curtains

Studio space. The beautiful Union Bridal + a workspace I wouldn’t mind calling my own.

Pink accents

Pop of pink. My officemate wears a lot of pink + so does that office chair.

Home and someone elses

Frozen in time. My living room (as photographed by my toddler) + a living space with a similar vibe.

stripes

Stripes and strawberries. Chamomile tea and cheddar bunnies are an unusual food pairing, I’ll give you that much + a far less unusual pairing: stripes and bloomers.

P.S. There are more photos where these came from so follow @KelseyDundon on Instagram.

March 10th, 2016

Drink | Wine and Book Pairings

Girl Who Was Saturday Night

It’s so satisfying when a “haha, we should…” conversation actually turns into something. In this case it was a “haha, we should…start a book club” chat that my friend Katie and I had a little while back. And then we had it again. And again. So we decided to actually do something about it. Thus, our book club was born. The surprising thing about it wasn’t that we actually started a book club, but that so many of my friends, and friends of friends, actually wanted to join. (I didn’t expect this to be the type of thing my girlfriends would be into for another three decades.)

So far we’ve debated our way through  The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Just Kids by Patti Smith, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill, The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeanette Walls

age of innocence still

…and most recently: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (though for this one, many opted to watch the movie trailer on iTunes instead).

Sandhill Merlot and Fruit Platter

Because I had been to the Vancouver International Wine Festival a few nights before I hosted our latest book club brunch (thank you, Sandhill!) we uncorked (well, unscrewed) a bottle of Sandhill Merlot. It’s a new world take on an old world varietal that I’m sure Madame Olenska would approve of.