I’m 23 and I still love 1D

Saying that I love One Direction used to bring me a lot of shame and embarrassment but now that I’m an adult, I share it proudly. I no longer care if someone scoffs at me for having an interest in something so ‘immature’ or that only ‘twelve year old girls like’. Listen to some of One Direction’s recent lyrics and tell me that it’s appropriate for pre-teens… I think not.

Over the years, I’ve spent WAY too much money on this band but I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. I’ve been much less active in the 1D fandom for the last two years because I’m been busy with ‘adult life’ (you can’t exactly be on Tumblr for ten hours a day when you’re a working twenty-something) but that hasn’t changed my love for the boys. When I found out they were taking a hiatus, I was somewhat heartbroken but I support the decision completely. Their last album, Made in the A.M., is more than enough to tie me over.

As the members of One Direction are around the same age of me (well, Louis is), it’s been watching them grow up in the public eye while I grew up at the same time. Becoming an adult is a bizarre transition, one that I’m sure that I’ll never be comfortable with, but it was humbling to watch a group of talented boys that I adore do it in the limelight, especially when they made mistakes. I was never the type of fan to feel betrayed when one of the guys was caught ‘smoking’ or something else of that sort, it just made them seem more human to me.

I was shocked, though, how I felt when Zayn left the band. One Direction wasn’t on my radar that much as I was right in the thick of doing a show while working full-time but when I found out, it took a lot out of me. I know that sounds insane and ridiculous but One Direction had become a bit of an escape for me in my post-secondary years and seeing my constant become broken was really startling. It reminded me that everything does have to come to end, no matter how great it was. Now, I totally respect and understand Zayn’s decision, sometimes things just get to be too much and you have to step away from the things that don’t make you happy.

To give you a better idea of how obsessed I was at my worst, I’ll paint you a bit of a picture. In my first year of college, I was going through a pretty rough time. All of a sudden, I was dealing with a lot of little health problems that were preventing me from being successful at school because I was under so much stress. That Christmas, I found One Direction for the first time. This was after they’d lost X-factor and ‘What Makes you beautiful’ was starting to rise in the charts. I stumbled upon the video and from there, I went down the rabbit hole. I’d only ever been this obsessed with one band before, The Jonas Brothers but that had been years before. I was shocked by how quickly I fell for Louis, Zayn, Niall, Harry and especially, Liam.

After purchasing a hardcopy of their first album, I really started getting into it. I tried to find every tidbit of information I could hunt down about this new boy band and found that I wasn’t alone in the pursuit. I finally stumbled upon some Tumblr blogs dedicated to them and while I had been a dabbler before, I quickly became addicted to my Tumblr dash, waiting for new updates every time I refreshed. A couple weeks into that process, I was incredibly sleep deprived during a particular stalking session when I found a link to a ‘One direction fanfic’. Just in case, you’re not familiar, fan fiction is stories written by fans of a certain media (books, Tv, films, real people?) that take the characters and sometimes situations form these media and compose their own realities for them. For example, Fifty Shades of Grey in its original form was a Twilight fan fiction story featuring Bella and Edward. Now, I wasn’t foreign to the world of fanfiction, I’d read and written my fair share in high school but never had I read anything that featured real people, it almost seemed to be a bit intrusive. But lack of sleep got the better of me and I soon found myself reading the story which turned out to be about two members of the band falling for each other, Louis and Harry (or as the fandom likes to call them, Larry Stylinson).

I quickly became addicted. It was my guilty pleasure. I never ‘shipped’ them in real life but in the stories, they were perfect for each other. I read everything I could get my hands on but as it was at the beginning of the fandom, there was only so many thousands of words you could read about two boyband members falling in love. When there was no story unread, I decided to go out on a limb and write my own. I was incredibly secretive about it and I almost felt shameful for writing stories about two popstars who actually existed. Yet, I just kept posting. I’ve always loved to write but now it just came so easily, I always was able to find inspiration and the words poured from my fingers. Soon, I had a little collection of fan fiction stories and even a small following who urged me to keep updating. It wasn’t until I wrote a story called ‘All work and no play’ that things started getting crazy. My favourite (and rather famous in the fandom) authors started re-blogging my work and I got more and more notes and hits with every chapter that I posted. At one point, I had about six stories on the go, updating with a minimum of 2000 worded chapters every day. It was craziness. The response, even more so.

At that point, it was all fun. I made some great friends who I even skyped with and still keep in contact with to this day. They became my little cheerleading squad and even when I was exhausted, supported me to grit my teeth and get the new chapter up. I soon branched out and started writing stories that featured more than just ‘Larry Stylinson’. I wrote a story that was pretty personal that featured a character struggling with cancer and shockingly, this story really started affecting people. I got long messages from people thanking me for it and suddenly, I felt like maybe I could really do something with my writing. One of the most surreal moments during all this is when I was contacted by a few magazines to do interviews about ‘fanfiction’ and ‘shipping’, my favourite headline of these articles being: ‘Will Cassady Ranford keep it gay?’ I even got asked to potentially do an article for the New York Times but unfortunately it fell through.

Eventually people in my real life started finding out about it. School was getting quite overwhelming at that point and slowly, I had less time for writing. It was hard but it seemed to be the right time to step away from that part of the fandom. As sad as it was, it was the right thing to do. I slowly noticed the traffic of my stories dwindle but that was fine too. I look back on these memories fondly and sometimes even go back through my inbox to read the kind messages people would send me.

Today, I’m entering what I feel in a new chapter of my life. It’s time to close off some of the old stuff so it doesn’t taint the new. I’m putting that blog where my stories are hosted on a password lock so people can still read it but the whole world can’t simply stumble upon it when you google my name. I love the boys and I love what I remember of the fandom. I still find myself reading some fan fiction every so often. I’m just happy that it inspired me to keep writing and to follow my passion, wherever it might lead me.

One Direction will always be a part of my life. I have so many awesome memories, whether it be fangirling with my Tumblr friends when a new album came out, a 1D concert misadventure to Seattle with one of my best friends, dragging a guy friend to the 1D popup store in downtown Vancouver or teaching all my little cousins the choreography to best song ever so we could perform it on New Year’s Eve, it’s been a great portion of my life.
So – there it is. My One Direction Story and how even though I’m 23, I still love 1D.

Getting down to my Skivvies: A Journey

Photo Credit: Marina Luro


I never thought I’d take off any clothing in public, let alone in front of an audience. I was the girl who was afraid of people seeing my underwear and loathed the idea of skinny-dipping. I guess you could say I’m a bit of a ‘prude’. I’m not sure where it stems from but I’m a pretty private person when it comes to my body and my sexuality. I cringe whenever somebody talks about sex and I’ve known to turn as red as a strawberry  when somebody asks me about my sex life. My parents raised me in an incredibly open way, where no subject was ‘off-limits’ and body positivity was always a focus. As long as I was ‘healthy’ by my own definition, my Mom and Dad were always there to cheer me on. Because of this, I’m not sure where this shame about sex and nudity came from… The mainstream media? From my friends growing up? From a sex-ed teacher? I’m still not sure but I guess finding out the answer won’t help me move forward and that’s exactly what I did recently, I moved forward and in a HUGE way…

I took my clothes off in front of an audience.

Maybe it’s the safety of the show or the supportive cast around me or even the fact that our nudity isn’t at all sexual. I’m not sure what changed my mind but when it came to opening night, I was stripping off my layers just like everyone else, letting my dress, shirt and bra fall to the floor. Just as my clothing fell away, so did my “shame”. In one swift motion, I took claim of my body and sexual presence and just simply owned it. I didn’t apologize for the fact that my breasts are different sizes or that I don’t have a six pack or even the slightest treasure trail that reaches up to my stomach. I stood with my cast on that stage and just… was.

Now I suppose it’s important to mention that I am doing the show, Hair, the 60’s American tribe musical that celebrates freedom in all senses: sexuality being one of those things. This show is the perfect platform and atmosphere for risk-taking and thanks to my lovely cast, crew and creative team, I took a big leap. I thought maybe I’d do it once and never again but during preview (the first show with an audience before ‘opening night’), the number came along where the undressing occurs. I had an awesome team of backstage cheerleaders and a friend who was taking things off for the first time as well. When it came to “the big moment”, I grabbed this particular friend’s hand, gave it a little squeeze and then took off my dress without a second thought. I haven’t feel so empowered in such a long time.

The most redeeming moment of it all was walking offstage and having my cast celebrate my bravery. It felt incredible. I was a part of something, a movement, even if it’s just a small one. It felt like a step in the right direction and every night since, I’ve taken off my clothes at the end of Act 1. Maybe it’s the safety net of the ‘unreality’ of theatre, as if the character taking off her clothes onstage is somehow separate from “me” but either way, I don’t care.

I’ve always battled with my confidence, whether it be trusting my decisions or owning who I am, and I’ve always been easily swayed when it came to opinions. When I was deciding whether or not to get naked onstage, there were a few people along the way that weren’t exactly the most supportive and although it was even fewer, some ‘advice’ came across as extremely judgemental. Cue the inner turmoil and even slut-shaming myself. Therefore,  I had to ignore those few voices, trust what I wanted and threw caution to the wind. It felt like the best possible, “FUCK YOU!” to the doubters when I took off my clothing. While I know they were probably cautioning me because they cared or because of their own morals and beliefs, I had to leave that behind and truly make my own decision. As much as I honour and still am thankful for their thoughtful advice, I had to take things into my own hands.

It’s almost the end of our sold-out run and it’s been an incredible journey. I thought I’d have a moment of doubt or regret along the way but I’ve never looked back. I’m so thankful for this amazing experience and while I won’t be seen streaking any time soon, I might feel more comfortable showing a little more skin without that prickle of shame that used to creep up my spine or that assumption of other’s judgement that used to plague my every thought.

Just a pretty little Tea Party


Sometimes, you just need to host a tea party for a group of your favourite people.  I like to have my lady friends in particular over for an evening every few months, to catch up on things and just so we can have a de-stressing session. A few weeks ago, the night’s theme was ‘tea party.’ This was inspired by the fact that I have way too much tea, mugs and teapots in my possession and never enough time to use it all.

My tea collection is embarrassingly big, taking up a whole storage container in my room. It’s time to share the leafy wealth. I can’t even use the excuse that I currently work in a tea shop because it’s been that big ever since I got addicted but at least now I can get it for 50% off.

So anyway, I started by collecting up all my favourite mugs and teapots which, again, I have too many of. I hopped over to the dollar and grocery store and picked up some affordable decorations and treats. As we’re just about to transition into spring and Easter is just around the corner, I went for the pastel colours to liven up the room and to go against the drab weather we’ve been having.

Decorations I purchased:

  • Yellow table cover
  • Doilies
  • Flower paper Plates

Decorations I had:

  • Cupcake stands
  • Mason jars
  • Flowers
  • Mugs and Teapots
  • Flower cupcake shells for cucumber sandwiches (gifted to me by Tristan)


  • Pixie Stix
  • Cucumber Sandwiches
  • Sour Apple Candy Straws
  • Chocolate Shortbread cookies

Most of the food was purchased but I had a loaf of bread and cucumber lying around thanks to my Mama and created some delicious cucumber sandwiches with cucumber, whole wheat bread with no crusts and plain cream cheese.

Here’s what the set-up looked like:

Upon entering, my guests got to choose what tea they liked from my ridiculously huge collection and we set about making it over some lovely conversation and scrumptious treats. I basically ate candy for dinner that evening and I have no regrets.

This is what the tea station looked like:12789647_10156540862465375_230761679_o

Here’s a closer look at the cucumber sandwich stand:12772892_10156540860040375_1610872241_o

It was just so nice to have some close friends over and to be able to do something a little crafty. I, for one, love a good theme party and this is definitely on the easier side of themes in terms of decoration and food preparation. The main ingredient is the tea of course.

As my guests were about to head out the door, I grabbed some Ziplocs and made each of them a gift bag with the remainder of the treats left on the table. This is the perfect way to ensure that I didn’t have a sugar overdose because if any of it had been left over, there would be nothing to stop me from devouring it all in one sitting. I also included a bag of tea of whatever they’d chosen to sip on that evening.


It was such a fun and simple way to host a get together with a little extra flair. I didn’t feel like I went overboard but maybe I did a bit. I can’t help that I love a good themed ladies night. It made for the perfect evening of gossip, good tea and girl time, something I need to re-charge every one in a while. Even after this night, I still have way too much tea but I guess that never hurt anyone!


My Musical Diary: What I learned from Jenny


I don’t know if I’ll ever get ‘Bobby, Bobby Baby, Bobby Bubbi’ out of my head. I’d go to sleep with it cycling in my head and now I’m not sure I’ll hear it again. When you end a show that you love and adore everyone in the cast, band and creative team,  it feels like you heart breaks a little. Being onstage, performing live theatre is such an exhilarating experience and you quickly get into a routine every night, falling a little more in love with it, especially after four consecutive weekend and sixteen complete shows. That’s approximately 2400 minutes of stepping into a world and character that’s different from your own, one that’s not quite perfect but certainly fun to get lost in.12698694_10156486094015375_3385018411718291224_o

I had the honour of being brought onto this project at the last minute. I’d never worked with the company, United Players, before but was excited to sign on to the first musical they’d ever produced. I stepped into the shoes of Jenny hesitantly at first, considering she is meant to be about ten years older than me, married and a mother of at least two little ones. While I can definitely see the similarities between me and Jenny, I have learned that she is much more than just a square housewife. She’s a clever and intuitive human being who has a lot more to offer than three meals a day.

She describes herself as ‘dumb and square’ but as Bobby later remarks she’s dumb and square, “like a fox”. He couldn’t be more right. Jenny’s intelligence is veiled and well-guarded, put to use in a subtle way that her husband rarely notices. She can manipulate him with a look and her quiet confidence makes her a much deeper character than you realize at first. When I first read through the script, I was confounded and frustrated by her. Why didn’t she stand up for herself? Why did she let her husband say such abusive and rude things about her and their relationship, right in front of her face? Why is she still with him?  I just didn’t get it.

At first, I struggled immensely getting into character. I just couldn’t connect because I kept focusing on all the ways that Jenny and I are different. I don’t have kids, I’m not married, I don’t let people walk all over me and I certainly don’t pretend to enjoy something for other people’s benefits (or so I thought). But then I remembered something I learned in theatre school; when approaching a character, the last thing you should do is judge them. I decided to take a fresh look at the script from this perspective and it made all the difference. I began to notice small, but definitely present similarities between Jenny and I. We care too much about what people think, we love deeply and we try our best to be perfect, even if we fail. I suddenly became much more comfortable reciting my lines, her words became mine and I didn’t feel so alien when I did the blocking of the scene. It all started to make sense and it made all the difference. I quickly felt like I wanted to be Jenny’s best friend, to really listen to what she needed and execute that onstage.


I chose to curl my hair for every show to really get into Jenny’s headspace. This is something I would never do on a daily basis but I knew that Jenny would. She is incredibly idealistic, almost to a fault, but this idealism is also a strength. It makes her have high expectations of her life, household and husband, which she deserves. It does make her a bit delusional but this delusion is more of an ambitious vision which is another one of her strengths. She’s the type of woman who makes a list of goals, even if they’re small and gets them done, something we don’t quite have in common.

I’m lucky I had such an amazing actor to play ‘David’. He authentically played David and didn’t just turn him into a one-note character who simply ignores his wife. We did a lot of work with the director to develop the dynamics of their relationship, as well as on our own. We fleshed out as much of their backstory as we could, filling in the blanks with our own ideas, something we had a lot of fun with. It made SUCH a difference when it came to putting the scene up on it’s feet. I’m glad I had an actor like Mark to work with as I always felt like I could step in and out of Jenny’s shoes so much easier when he stepped so completely into David’s. When we were on stage, we were Jenny and David, through and through.

Jenny is a diehard romantic, having faith in her husband despite all his faults. . There’s a part of the show where I got to choose a hobby for Jenny and it just seemed right that she would spend her free time reading a Harlequin novel. All she wants is to be swept off her feet and I feel like maybe, at some point, that’s what she and David had or maybe she just kept thinking that’s what would happen somewhere in the relationship. Unfortunately, I think Jenny settled with David and while she is still head over heels for him (or at least the idealized version of him), she deserves so much more than what he gives her. Most of the show he ignores her and while their relationship becomes somewhat resolves in the end with their: “David?” “What?” “Nothing.” exchange, I still think she could so much better than him.


The weirdest thing about playing Jenny was that her husband’s name is David. Bizarrely enough, I have a man in my life who I love very much with the same name. This made it easier to remind myself of the love that Jenny feels for her own ‘David’ as it was easy to substitute those feelings when I had real ones of my own, for the David in my life. Especially considering the ‘David’ in Company is a bit of an asshole, even though, at the end of the day, he really cares about his wife.

I think the biggest thing I learned from Jenny was compassion. She will always forgive David, even if it wounds her. Her understanding and patience is something that I will carry with me into my own life and try to apply when tensions arise. She is able to step into another person’s perspective so easily and see through their eyes, something that I definitely struggle with. I can walk away from this show with that lesson, to always look at a situation from another angle.

I’m going to miss Company terribly but what I will miss more are  the companions (the cast, crew and band) that I had the honour of performing and working with for four months of my twenty-third year. I will take what I learned from Jenny and the rest of the new friends I made during this albeit arduous, but amazing creative process and keep it close to me always. Completing a show has always been tough for me but composing this has helped me step away from the sadness and look back at my time with Jenny as a lovely and fulfilling experience.


Recipe: Lime salt seasoned Cauliflower Steaks


These are perfect if you’re trying to sneak a few more veggies into your diet or you’ve cut meat out completely. Super simple to make and even more delicious. It’s one of those things that you can just throw in the oven and go about your day. The taste payoff is also incredible. It’s also an incredibly versatile meal and easy to pair things with.


– 1 of cauliflower (the bigger, the better)

– 1/2 cup of Olive oil

– 2 cloves of minced garlic

– Lime salt or lemon juice to taste

The steps:

1. Set oven to 400 f.  Cut the bottom of  cauliflower off so there’s a flat base, remove any excess leaves.

2. Cut the cauliflower in half length wise and cut into four 1/2 inch sections. You should now have four equal sized steaks. 

3. Whisk salt, olive oil and garlic together in bowl. 


4. Place four “steaks” on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush mixture on top side of cauliflower.

5. Put cauliflower in oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Turn cauliflowers over and brush mixture over it. Leave in oven for 15-20 more minutes.


7. Remove from oven and enjoy!

You can basically throw anything on top of these delicious veggie ‘steaks’ as they are so combinable. Some ideas I’ve come across are roasted tomatoes and olive or even some chimchurri. I kept mine simple and paired it with some pumpkin cous cous and chicken sausage which I was also able to make in the oven at the same time as these.

I’m no cook but I know there isn’t a way that even the most inexperienced at working with an oven can’t mess these up. Just make sure to keep an eye on them and aim for that golden brown look and have fun coming up with new pairings!


Tips for Working from Home


The last couple of days I’ve been playing catch up and while my out of the house jobs have yet to start up, I’m scrambling to get as much ‘working from home’ tasks done as I can before I’m swamped with doing my online work in-transit. By ‘in-transit’, I literally mean pulling out my computer on public transportation and writing articles while I wander between work and rehearsal. Working from home can prove to be a bit difficult and I tried to take the challenge in stride and have developed a few tips to keep you focused when you’d rather just binge watch another show on Netflix.

Don’t sleep in.

As tempting as it is to get out of bed after 10 A.M. when you’re working from home, it really will set you up for failure. Not only are you wasting hours of precious worktime but you also put your mind into a space that will stunt your productivity. Get up when you normally would for work, whether it be 7 A.M. or 8 A.M.

Get out of your pyjamas.

This was my major struggle the first day I tried working from home. This is the comfort-distraction factor at work. Even if you’re just pulling on a pair of sweats and a t-shirt, that transition from your pyjamas to another outfit will do wonders for your focus and concentration in general. So while it’s tempting to keep your onesie on, don’t do it.

Organize your ‘work-space’. 

While some people might have a home office  if they work permanently or part-time at home, others might not have the space or work enough at home to justify such a setup. I suggest finding somewhere in your house that you can sit comfortably for a while, whether it be at the kitchen table or on top of a dresser in your bedroom, pull up a chair and settle in. Think of it as your office for the day, bring anything and everything you might need so you’re not tempted to get up every two seconds to procrastinate. Make your semi-permanent space comfortable but not TOO comfy, you still have work to do!



As I just said, you can’t be too comfy or you’ll just continually get distracted and your productivity will be halved. This means absolutely don’t work from bed. Your bed is your ultimate comfort zone and by setting up camp there, you’re guaranteed to operate the same way you would if you were about to cozy in for the night. I’ve tried working from bed before and I can tell you, it just isn’t a good idea. Plus, the posture that you have to be in to work from bed isn’t good for your body anyway.


Bring some snacks into your work space, but keep them little, to ensure that you stay charged enough to concentrate on your work. Trail mix, fruit or other small munchies are a good way to keep your mind fueled. Just make sure that your snack is something that won’t get your keyboard dirty.

Reward yourself with something every hour or so.

I usually allow myself a five minute YouTube video or some other comparable for every hour of work I do. If you can, try to keep it related to the work at hand but sometimes you just need to slip five minutes of Gossip Girl in to keep you motivated. As much as you can, try to keep whatever your ‘reward’ is to something in the five minute range so it’s just enough of a break but not enough to distract you completely. Every couple of hours, take a longer break for a meal or do something productive around your home, ie. walk the dog, throw something in the crockpot, or fold that laundry you’ve been neglecting for a week. This will give your mind a bit of a break from not only your computer screen but gives you a chance to refresh a little and think about other things.

Change your environment.

If you find yourself a productivity plateau, get out of the house or even move to another room. My go-to is to find a spot in a coffee shop and camp out for a couple of hours, gotta love free Wifi! I’ve even ventured to parks near my house to do some work just to get some fresh air and set up on a picnic table for a while before returning home. It’s just nice to switch it up every couple of hours to keep you from feeling claustrophobic.

So there it is! Those are my tips from working from home on a semi-regular basis. The ironic part is that I’m procrastinating from my other work to write down this advice. I guess I consider it one of my longer breaks. Anyway, I hope this helps!


Last minute Christmas Present DIY: Terrarium

Need a bit of a creative outlet to escape the stress of the holidays but still need to cross of a few more gifts on your Christmas list? Here’s how you can can kill two birds with one stone and get your green thumb working in the off-season: make a terrarium!

The best part of making  a terrarium is that there’s no wrong way to go about it. It’s fun because it’s so customizable as well so you can tailor it to whoever you’re gifting it too or make it exactly how you want it if it’s a gift to yourself!

What you’ll need:

  • 3 -4 Plants (Cacti, Succulents, and polka dot plants tend to work best for this low maintenance project)
  •  Bag of Moss
  • Bag of Stones (for drainage)
  • Soil
  • Glass container with open top


The Steps:

  1. Clean out the container by giving it a good wipe down.
  2. Make a layer of stones at the bottom to serve as a mock drainage system to avoid the growth of mould.
  3. (Optional): If you have different coloured stones/sand, make different layers of stones to make an artsy but natural looking layer effect.
  4. Put down a layer of moss and soil for the plants to rest in.
  5. Remove the plants from their pots, placing the sturdier plants (cacti, if you have any) into the dirt/moss layer. Try to remove as much excess dirt to ensure that the roots of the plant have room to re-root into the new soil. Try to make sure there’s enough room between the plants for their roots to expand.


6. Place more moss on top layer of dirt in between plants. Try not to over-crowd them. This is mostly just for decoration.

7. Add stones/other decor (shells, glass, pebbles etc.) between plant to give it truly Pinterest look. This is where the artsy part comes in. Go wild!

8. Voila! You’ve got your own terrarium. Try not to over-water.

The final product:


Cost Breakdown: (estimated based on my findings)

Plants (2 cacti, 1 polka dot plant and 1 succulent): Range between $2.50 and $6 each (3 – 4 plants)

Glass Container: $6

Decorative Stones: $3

Bag of Moss: $2

Total Cost: $25

Most of these items are incredibly easy to track down. I found them all at local dollar stores and it only took about ten minutes for me to get it looking how I wanted. It felt good to get my hands a little dirty during this somewhat stressful time of year. This project is simple, affordable and is just creative enough to get you feeling like a bit of an artist. Plus, it’s a thoughtful gift or a great way to add a pop of nature to your own home!