canadian blogger

Alfred Drinking Coffee and Chatting with VanIsReal

Alfred Zagloul loves coffee. This simple premise was used as the inspiration for his incredibly popular account (Alfred started his Instagram on September 1st, 2016 and he’s already up to 2397 followers as of January 17th, 2017) and it’s worked out swimmingly.

Even if you don’t love coffee (I’ve been off it for 2 weeks, but I’m sure my addiction will rear it’s ugly head again soon enough), I think his account is worth following if you use IG because his expression makes me laugh and without Alfred using any words it’s like he’s letting people know, “I feel ya”. Life ain’t always easy, but the best thing we can do is laugh at ourselves, and that’s why @alfreddrinkingcoffee is such an impactful account!

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Alfred at Revolver on Cambie.

It was my first time at Revolver and the music was my favourite part of the coffee shop: old school U2 and the War on Drugs were playing while we were there.

In addition to how amazing he is on IG, Alfred was kind, interesting, and easy to talk to in real life, so I give this “Accountant by day/Coffee Drinker also by day” (the tagline on Alfred’s IG) two thumbs up!

What do you love about Vancouver?

“Obviously, the biggest thing for me is the coffee culture in general. So, I love how everywhere you go in Vancouver, 90% of the people love coffee. Every shop that you go to has a different vibe, has a different flavour, so you get a real taste, a huge variation of tastes and flavours around Vancouver, which is really rare to see in some cities, so I love that about Vancouver.”

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If you’ve ever felt like a freak or an outsider, what helped you through it?

“Ok, so I had to really think about this. So, there’s been a couple times where I just felt like an outsider here and there, and I, honestly, the reason why I love coffee so much is because of the coffee shops themselves. So I’d go to a coffee shop, sit down and you feel like you’re a part of a group, even though you’re not really. You can just sit there and enjoy, hear some random conversations, hear what is going on around you and just enjoy the atmosphere of a good coffee shop. Usually, that’s my go-to if I ever do feel like an outsider or anything like that.”

Where did you come up with the idea for your Instagram?

“Honestly, a lot of my co-workers noticed that I’m obsessed with coffee before we did this. And they’re like, “Alfred you need to have an account.” So, we started pitching ideas and thinking about what we should do, and next thing I know here I am with colourful shirts, staring deadpan into the camera, and drinking coffee. Thought the most simple idea was the best way to go, so that’s where the idea came from basically.”

A$AP Ferg Interview

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Kevin’s Key to Being an Outsider: Own It!

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Kevin Wolfhard (@kwolfhard) knows what’s up!

If you’ve ever felt like a freak or an outsider, what helped you through it?

“Always…and essentially, I mean it took me quite a lot of time to sort of figure this out, but if you don’t own being a dork, being a weirdo, being a misfit, being an outsider…it’s, you can’t live life like that.

So if you just own it, it’s the best thing in the world. It’s who you are, right? This is why I dance at the Fox. It’s the ultimate expression of who I am as a person.”

I was feeling super crappy today (damn you PMS and a lack of sunlight), so I am so thankful to Kevin for his unbelievably wise words, because they boosted me up and reminded me of what’s important in life.

Owning who you are (which I find challenging to do all the time, but it feels so good when I do own who I am) is the best way to cope with feeling like a freak!

If you want to look at some gorgeous photos, please follow Kevin on Instagram: @kwolfhard. 

Sonja Larsen: Her Memoir Red Star Tattoo Is A Life-Changing Read

This summer my friend Nessa passed along a copy of her friend Sonja Larsen‘s impeccable memoir Red Star Tattoo: My Life As A Girl Revolutionary and I was hooked from page one. Larsen’s past is full of lots of different topics that are both fascinating and painful, such as being part of a cult and experiencing sexual abuse. Sonja’s talent lies in being able to appropriately delve into her shocking and painful past experiences without making them too heavy or going to the opposite end of the spectrum and presenting them in a salacious or tabloid-like manner. The book is educational without taking itself too seriously. It’s fun to read too! These are just a few of the reasons as to why I highly recommend that you take the time to read it.

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I am grateful for Sonja’s decision to turn her life into a memoir, because it reminds me that I need to let go of my own shame and there is nothing in my past that should ever prevent me from moving towards a more enjoyable future.

Thank-you Sonja for sharing and for taking the time out of your day to let me interview you!

Sonja Larsen: “If I ever felt like a freak or an outsider…well if you’ve read my book you’ll know that I was definitely a freak and an outsider in lots of different ways, so often in my life. You know, my Dad was a pot dealer. My mother was a communist. You know, but I think part of my growing up was that I actually kind of was raised to believe, because my parents were a little bit hippies at first, that being an outsider was not such a bad thing, that if you were questioning the system that was good. But I think really what has got me through it is sometimes realizing that you’re not alone. That everyone is sort of making it up as they go along.”

Mad Dog

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Mad Dog and his adorable pug, Yoda, are local fixtures, and he generously shared a few of his thoughts with me today.

In terms of why Mad Dog loves Vancouver, he thinks that it’s because: “I came from Alberta when I was 13 years old, and, like, if you were gay you had to stay in the closet or else you’d get beat up. I love Vancouver for being who you want, and, like, no big issue about it, right? That’s what makes Vancouver”.

My obligatory second question “If you’ve ever felt like a freak or an outsider, what helped you through it?” generated the following response: “I’ve always been a freak, and that’s fine because I’d rather be a freak than a straight normal person”.

Embrace Your Freakishness!

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After it poured outside for most of the day, it finally turned sunny out just after 4, so I got off my butt and headed out onto Main Street with the hopes of finding some sweet soul to interview.

Brittney’s look appealed to me, and when I asked her if I could interview her she obliged. Her answer to my question about whether or not she’s ever felt like a freak or an outsider, and if she has what’s helped her through it, was great. Brittney (brittney@laceembrace.com) suggests “EMBRACING IT”–how apropos considering she works at Lace Embrace. I wholeheartedly agree. As they say, let your freak flag fly!

If you’re ever interested in a corset, sexy lingerie, old-fashioned clothing, or pin-up style outfits go visit Brittney at Lace Embrace Atelier on Main (or check out Scout just off Main which is owned by the same person).

Sydney Knows A Thing Or Two About Freaks: FREAKAGENT.com

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On this gloriously sunny New Years Eve day, I got shut-down by the first five people I asked to interview for VANISREAL.com. Thankfully, I continued to search, and I kept walking around looking for an interview subject. When I saw Sydney Gregoire, I thought her unconventional style was interesting and attractive, so I asked her if I could interview her.

The beautiful Sydney agreed. When I told her that my second question is, “If you’ve ever felt like a freak or an outsider, what helped you through it?”, she informed me that she owns an agency called FREAK (amazing) for local artists, and DJs. The website for the agency is FREAKAGENT.com.

As they say, great minds think alike!

These are some of the things Sydney said:

“I think meeting other freaks and outsiders in the city is probably the way to feel most normal in Vancouver, I think. There’s a lot of fun, creative people over here, so it’s nice.”

“I do actually run an agency called FREAK. It has local artists, visual artists, DJs, that sort of thing, so it’s all like the weirdos in the city. We get together and kind of make art together.”

Thanks to Sydney…it felt really nice to not feel like a freak while asking people if they’ve ever felt like a freak or an outsider (if that makes any sense)!