Monday, May 30, 2011

Music Monday: Big Love

There was a time in our relationship when Ailen thought that I was a music finding genius. Truth be told, I am. However, I've been lax in this area for the past little while as other things in my life take priority over surfing the web for hours on end.

This doesn't bother me as much as I would expect, because my loving and talented sister has taken up the mantel of finding great songs and musicians.
Among other amazing discoveries, stands Calgary based singer/songwrter Brent Tyler, and he stands 7 feet tall, towering above the crowd with his "big love" (a Brent Tyler turn of phrase) for family, fans, and music.

My sister I have attended a few (okay maybe more than a few) of Brent's concerts. Whether the venue is small and intimate or packed with disinterested people, Brent remains gracious and entertaining. I imagine that for every artist the support you receive from the people closest to you is the most encouraging. From the way he talks about them, its easy to tell that Bent loves his family, and from seeing various members at his concerts you know the "big love" is mutual.
The first of Brent's shows I went to, his sister was there. Singing and clapping along, promoting his CDs and simply being there for her brother. Ailen and I watched this simple gesture of love with smiles on our faces, and in our hearts.

We here at Sisters & Such respect and admire the role siblings play in each other's lives. How it's always changing and evolving, yet always important. I recently realized that each of my siblings have taken a turn being the musical genius in life.

When I think of all four of us growing up together, it's Skylar's music that takes the forefront in those memories: Cranberries, Jars of Clay, and of course that one time he discovered ABBA... I'll leave that story for Ailen to tell ;). It was after the two oldest left, and once Jordan could drive that his taste in music defined my interests: 3 Doors Down, City and Colour and probably the first band I distinctly remember him getting me into Green Day. For a few years there I was very self-sustaining in the music department, but I am ever grateful for Ailen's enthusiasm now, which gets me out to live shows in Calgary like 100 Mile House, Zaac Pick, many others and of course Brent Tyler.

Big Love to all siblings everywhere.

"Don’t wait for the day all of your fond memories fade
Take small time to say something so small but big in a way"
- Brent Tyler, In Rhythm

In honor of loving siblings, our last review comes from a very important reader, our biggest brother Skylar. Who's wisdom and insights are never in dispute... ;)

I have many favorite S&S posts from the past year. Most of them are visual in style and coy in execution. Frequently, you flood my eyes with wave after wave of stunning, funny, familiar, or strange sights (Recalling Devil's pool vs. Rng Rd #32). And all too often I find myself a willing and keen observer to the cascade of effervesce. But. There is an (albeit small) antiquated traditionalist deep inside me that ponders: "shouldn't a blog, like it's predecessor, the newspaper column, be about superior execution of "The Essay" rather than "The HTML?" I acknowledge this as a personal struggle, observing the shift in paradigm but I put it to you as a sophomore challenge: let your graphics be the perfect compliment to your linguistic eloquence. Or at least humor me once in a while. I thus, divulge my two favorite posts from the past 12 months (in no certain order): "Sleepless in Wherever" (Sept '10)- Tasteful, accurate display of both the fashion failures and smashing successes of the Lucasian megalomaniac Monarchy. Your opening was engaging; your arguments were flawless; the frames that you chose to display each piece was pristine; and the conclusion was sublime. Well done! Couldn't have said it better myself. "So it begins" (Feb '11)- I pick this only to betray my own self-indulgent tendencies. But undoubtedly superb execution with every frame and caption. Each time I scrolled down I was introduced to a new brilliantly crafted story and, right up until the climax, was incrementally overjoyed. (to quote the ever nonchalant Gian) "Nicely done!"

Friday, May 27, 2011

Bears, Butterflies & Beauties

Our plan for Saturday was to:
1) go shopping at the Secret Store (which will remain a secret a little while longer)
2) go for coffee at Phil & Sebastians

After successfully checking both those items off the list we ventured deep in to the wilderness....

this little girl was showing off her awesome outfit, and awesome butterfly whisperer skills (there's a butterfly perched on her hand :)

.... or at least to the Zoo with our new awesome outfits.


This 2-cent review is a very special one.
The whole reason I even appear half-put together on a semi-regular basis is because of this most amazing fashion mentor, and dear friend, Sigal.
Back in my Vancouver days, Sigal graciously took this fresh-off-the-farm girl under her wing and together we ventured into fashion wilderness..... where we both now dwell.

I love reading the blog and from an early time have come on here once a week during my lunch break to see what has been happening in the lives of my two favourite valentines.

Not only do I love the fashion part of the blogs, I also love the life realizations and the family comments from parents, etc. You two are very talented and have blessed us all with a small window into your lives. Thank you!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Keeping (my sister) Informed

As I have mentioned here previously, I sometimes forget to tell you (my sister) important things... This week it has to do with The Royal Wedding Reception.

You know what Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge wore, and you also saw what Camilla was wearing. But I have neglected to share my knowledge with you regarding other important persons of note. Mainly Pippa and Carole Middleton, who were both stunning.

Now I have been hard pressed to find what anyone else wore to this event besides Princess Beatrice... trust me when I say it's not worth knowing. However she and her sister, Princess Eugenie, didn't do too badly when they attended a pre-wedding dinner hosted by Her Majesty the Queen.

Princess Anne and her Mother The Queen both looked ravishing, although I'd have to say that The Queen has my vote for best dressed between the two of them. Therefore I posted a photo of her that showed as much of her gown as possible, sorry it's so far way, but I wasn't the one taking the picture ;)

Lastly, I thought that it would be appropriate to show the most dashing couple of the night. Always gracious, ever stylish, and the Royal gem of all Scandinavia, I give you Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and her husband Prince Daniel, the Duke and Duchess of Västergötland!

Don't you just love them? Anyways, all the pictures today came from various places: the reception hall, Pippa, Carole, Beatrice, Eugenie, Anne, Queen Elizabeth II, and the Swedes. I hope you enjoyed this little update. I know it's not the Wedding Reception, but it is just a little extra taste of the festivities that went on.


Fellow appreciator of all things stylish, artful, and creative, Ms. Kirste Gallant had this to say about our blog

My Two Cents .. which may, or may not, be a more than a couple of cents!

I have loved watching the progression of this blog. I went all the way back to the very first post, to the point where Ailen didn't know a blog existed! Together you've broached a wide variety of topics, and may I say that the photos posted during the first year of your blog have only added to the experience! Though I have MANY favorite posts, favorite quotes, favorite photos - the introduction of Music Mondays has been A-MA-ZING! I love music, so it just fits! And it offers your readers another glimpse into the sisters!

Happy First Anniversary!



Monday, May 23, 2011

Music Monday - No Reason to Get Excited

.... just kidding.
There's every reason to get excited today.
It's Dad's birthday!!

Sisters & Such recognizes that Dad shares his birthday with a lot of very important people (including his twin brother, and first born son), and while we love all the people who's birthday is today, sometimes Dad just needs a little attention.

I love my dad, but sometimes I wonder how we're related when:
1) I love Oodle Noodle. Dad hates Oodle Noodle.
2) I laugh out loud at Modern Family. Dad falls asleep if it's on.
3) Dad is really good a driving a tractor. I'd really rather not bother.

But then I totally see the resemblance when we:
2) Hike through the Rockies for days at a time
3) Work on home renovation projects.... although our choice of tools may differ

We're similar
But we're different.

Kinda like...

cover songs.

The same - but different

And, Dad, if I you and I were cover songs, we'd be
All Along The Watchtower
Jimi Hendrix
Dave Matthews

On your birthday, I'm excited that we had a chance to celebrate together.
You're an awesome dad - and yes, you're a stud.

*stud finders are highly unreliable pieces of equipment - the above is a demonstration of how to calibrate the finder before use... Dad = stud.

Our next 2-cent review comes from our friend Manda, who was quoted in our very first Music Monday post and makes us laugh.... always

Like seriously, admitting I'm a musical snob for good reason would seem like the easy choice.

I mean, to be quoted?
Obviously I'm THAT good.

But I'm also oh so humble (in all my glory).

So my favourite post is Wedding Win
Why? It really demonstrates the power of the internet.

How you can take a couple and make me believe they are real.
And make me think they are the coolest people.
And make me want to do my wedding the same way.
Only to realize this couple is fake.
The embarrassment I felt was REAL.
The heartbreak was REAL.
Sisters who toy with emotions? Unbelievable!
But seriously...the lesson learned from all of this? I need to watch more TV.......

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I love Superman.
He's beautiful. He's strong. He's passionate, unwavering, optimistic, and he can fly.

I used to think that Superman was simply a tool for All-American propaganda. That he was over-rated, and clique.
When I saw a preview for Superman Returns my initial reaction was "Man he looks plastic."
However, I have a love for movies, and on one winter evening I stopped at the general store to rent a movie to watch while doing my homework. The only one that looked half decent and I hadn't already seen was, Superman Returns. So I rented it, simply for interest sake.

I sat down in the living room with my Bio homework spread around me, and pressed play...
...the short story is, I didn't get any Bio homework done. From then on I was hooked! I made it my mission to find all the old Christopher Reeve movies to fully experience what I'd been missing out on. That Christmas Mum gave me something beautiful! A 14 disk box set including all five released Superman movies including Director's cut, countless interviews, a few episodes from the George Reeves era, and some cartoons. I watched it all before the holidays were up.
From this amazing box set I learned about the existence of the TV series called Smallville, which follows the life of a young Clark Kent before he embraces his destiny as the world's greatest superhero. I was skeptical, but thought that I should check it out anyways. I'm glad I did because my favorite Lex Luthor, and favorite Lois Lane come from this show! And now I own all the seasons.
Last Friday was the Grand Finale for the show. I can't seem to bring myself to watch it. I'm not sure how long this stand off will last, I'll get around to watching it sometime, but when I think about that I just picture myself turning the whole thing off two minutes into the first hour.

There's just something about endings. The crazy thing is that Smallville is nowhere near the best representation of this franchise, and apparently I don't want it to stop! Now that is ridiculous. I guess that I've imagined the perfect final episode so many times that I don't want to be disappointed.

Regardless, all of this is pointless. Superman isn't going anywhere, I already know how this story plays out, and I can't even tie my nerd-out session here to anything profound at all!

So, I hope you enjoy the p
ictures at least, and the moral of the story is: I'm a nerd. Then again, so is he...
Photos from here respectively: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Ok so Gabby a real superhero in the world. In her 2-cent review she talks about everyone needing to feel safe and secure, and how she aims to be a sister (code for superhero) to the people around her.

I had a quick peek through your blogs- not all of them, but a few. ‘A Very Good Friday’ was one of my favorites, so I’ll give my two cents to it! The reason I enjoyed reading it was because I am interested in the idea of coming home, and the traditions associated with that. Every person needs to have a sense of security and belonging.

On Good Friday this year I wasn’t with my family, because they were on the mainland of Australia visiting relatives. Two years ago, this would have made me sad, because before I moved away to go to university, I associated that sense of security and belonging with my biological family. However, on Good Friday this year, I heated up some hot cross buns and took them over to my friends place. As simple as that gesture was, I am realizing more and more a simple truth (that others have probably learnt years ago). This simple truth is the understanding that my life isn’t about holding onto the comforts of yesterday or clinging to any sort of security I can get my hands on, but rather about being a sister to others and providing that acceptance and belonging in a world where it is quite rare.

Thinking of you,

Love Gabby.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Love Your Neighbour

Last week I was sitting in my front yard after a long day of work reading my book and enjoying the sunshine when a car pulled up in front of our row of town houses. Two people emerged from the car - moving quite slowly- dressed in yellow.

I'd seen yellow balloons outside of their house a couple weeks prior, and only just maybe the day before saw their faces on a TV while channel surfing.

As these two stiff folks pulled armloads out of the car I put two and two together and shouted out
"Hey! I know you!" a little too loudly
(I think I startled even myself).

Yes. Ladies & Gentleman, our neighbours
are reality TV stars!

Even though they were visibly tired Jesse & Raegan took the time to chat with me and Kelsey on the front lawn. They had just finished up their last day of filming a gruellingly long day.

See the show they are filming is like a d0-it-yourself extreme home makeover, and the Maleys are required to do all the work themselves... no wonder they looked so exhausted!

But here's the thing.... the winners are determined by viewer votes only, and as sad as we would be to loose the Maleys as our neighbours, we would be so happy for them to win their dream home....

So the staff here at Sisters & Such are asking you to
Love Your Neighbour
and cast your vote for Jesse & Raegan and their beautiful family.

Because these really are our neighbours
and because you love us they're kinda like your neighbours too....

Go Team Yellow!

We don't have a 2-cent review to share with you today, but we have to mention our Aunt Jocelyn who made a very special contribution to the Sisters & Such birthday celebration. Aunt Jocelyn is a lively woman with more love to go around to all her neighbours and then some. She is a master gardener and a scrabble whizz!

We love you, Aunt Jocelyn, and the orphans* thank you!

*today the role of the "orphans" will be played by four nephews.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Music Moday: Flashbacks

This song has been haunting me this weekend, transporting me back to a time when all nighters were a novelty, homework was the main cause of stress , and having a job was unnecessary.

Having heard it at my friend's wedding on Saturday, and then as soon as I walked in the door yesterday, I felt that "I'll Be" by Edwin Mccain should be the song for this Monday.

Horrible fashion, and significant cheeziness aside, 1998 was a good year. Life was simpler, and easier. I wasn't even 10 yet! Oh the days of single digit ages, where have you gone? ...Still I'm not the one pushing t***** this year, am I sister? Oh common! People always think you're younger than me anyways, I'm just reminding them a little ;) Love you!

The wedding I was at was for my friend Brittany, and Maikal. You guys are beautiful. Tons of love, and here's to the years ahead that you will share (being the other's "crying shoulder" ...yeah, I had to do that).

It's amazing the memories that songs can bring up. I chalenge all of you readers to find a song from you're past this week, one that transports you back to a time when things were easy and simple. Enjoy.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hold On

It's as if this week the wind itself has whispered this command to me over and over....

"Hold on, Hold on to yourself, 'cause this is going to hurt like hell..." Sarah McLachlin & Alberta Ballet
“Without me you’ve got it all… So hold on” Robert Pattinson, Never Think
"But I will hold on hope" Mumford & Sons, The Cave

Hold on.... to hope.

Through tears, I read the rescue story of my friend's aunt, Rita Chretian. Three days after getting very lost and badly stuck in the Nevada wilderness, her husband, Al, set out on foot to go find help. He never returned, and she was - alone - for the next 46 days until three hunters happened upon her isolated location.

I can't even imagine what those weeks were like for her and how she endured the mental and physical anguish all those days.

Holding on.

Yesterday her pastor, Neil Allenbrand, spent some time visiting with her at the hospital in her hometown, and when he spoke to the press afterwards, he commented that "This is not just a miracle of physical survival, it's a miracle of emotional, mental and spiritual survival."

She did it.
She held on
until she was found.

I think every time someone says "Hold on..." the listener is given a nugget of hope.

And now, I can't help but whisper this prayer for all of you,
my friends,
and sister.

When feeling low, lonely, and lacking light...
hold on
You may feel despair for a moment, but hold on to the hope that loneliness is temporary

I'm here :)


Today’s review comes from the first person we told about our blog, Ms. Regan.

Regan has been featured in a few posts here, here, and here. And regardless of the things we say about her or the photos we post of her, she’s most certainly our loudest cheerleader.

First, let me express the joy that the two of you have brought into my life this past year. I have learned about your hopes, your passions, your experiences, your wishes and what you both value above all. Words truly cannot express the depth of emotion I have experienced reading your blog. I have laughed, cried and learned about each of you over this past year.

I thought long and hard about which post or posts were my favorites, but I cannot choose just one. I have read the posts at all hours of the day and in all sorts of places. You have brought a smile to my face while I was in the depths of despair, made me laugh out loud at work with laughter and made my heart swell with pride and thanksgiving that I am lucky to know such interesting, caring individuals.

Over the year your posts have changed as the two of you grew.

Kelsey - you truly have a way with words. Your posts about India had me almost smelling the curry and hearing the singing children. I always look forward to reading your unique take on the world. You have a soft heart and kind mind (thank you Cullen) and it shines through your posts.

Ailen - you are definitely the visual one! Your posts are always pleasing to the eye. You have a way of telling the story without words which is truly a gift.

So to sum it all up here are my two cents. Like your appearances, you have very different blogging styles. The photographer versus the writer. I am glad that you have found a space where you can both meet and share your experiences in the medium that suits you best. You may not share your experiences in the same way, but you both share two things laughter and love and I thank you for that.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Veiled Rebekah

I feel that it is appropriate now, to officially put up this post. This is the one that my sister graciously posted for me, the day of which I received my punishment for. My eyebrow punishment! It's coming up on a week now, and overall the people in my life seem ok with my restructured facial hair. They don't run away screaming, even the ones I don't know, so that's gotta be a good sign! ...My sister still says I look like an alien though :(

Anyways, let me change the topic. When I was in the city of Hyderabad India last September, I got to see this statue "in the flesh" as Kerri Colwell likes to say. And she is very beautiful.

I mean how a person make marble look transparent!? Look at this again... closer:

How on earth? That's all I want to know!

I saw many splendid things in the museum that day, but this left them all in the dust. I know that the pictures are nothing in comparison to the Rebekah I saw "in the flesh" that day, but I wanted to share her beauty with you.


Another beautiful woman I know is Ms. Caitlin Streefland. She sent us her 2-cent review in video format from Australia. I spent Christmas with her at GSAM and it was always a joy to be in her company. Here she is "in the flesh" ;)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Music Monday - For Mom

There are a lot of really great things about growing up on a farm.
There are a lot of challenging things about growing up on a farm.

But for the most part - especially now that I'm a city-bound adult
I cherish the idiosyncrasies of our childhood farm life.

On our farm we didn't have a dishwasher.... we had 4 dish washers rather:
Skylar. Ailen. Jordan. Kelsey.
Between the four of us we negotiated the post-dinner kitchen disaster zone.

Even though we knew this was one of the "kid chores", we would often put up a protest. Without fail Mom and Dad stood their ground and the dishes got washed by our tiny, soft, innocent child hands (yes, fishing for sympathy here...).

Years of conditioning later.....I'm highly nostalgic whenever I wash dishes.
Not so much because of the dishwashing activity,
but because of the routine of our household:
the parents prepared the meal,
we ate together as a family,
and the kids cleaned up..... and always, while we were toiling at the sinks, Mom would shift over to the piano and with a few hymnals or song sheets start plunking out some tunes on the out-of-tune piano.

When she played.....
sometimes we would sing along.
sometimes Dad would join in on his flute.
sometimes we'd pair up for a waltz or a two-step.

"You never dance with anyone as well as you dance with your siblings."
- Mom

Her music was the soundtrack to our family evening ritual
with Louis Armstrong standard in her playlist....

Thank you, Mom, for the gift of your music, and for the constant reminder that this truly is a wonderful world.... dirty dishes and all.

Make that ... "dirty dishes, spitting brother, and all."

Happy Mother's Day


For our
blog's first birthday we invited all our readers to share some favourite posts from this past year with us, and we'll reveal what you all had to say in our posts as the weeks go by.

Mom's submission was first one we received, and her 2-cents is below!

1. Kelsey: your MI6 picture FREAKED ME OUT! Because I was so worried about you making the connecting flight to India, I couldn't believe you dared leave Heathrow to see anything of London!
2. Ailen: your post about
Theo's Hockey Game made out of Lego was wonderful and very detailed. It really made me appreciate the detail he went into while constructing. That he had just been at an actual Oilers game no doubt helped, but he even thought of building CAMERAS using Lego block eyes, for goodness sake.

I love it when you talk about how much you both love "home".
Love, Mama

Friday, May 6, 2011

Parts Blog

This Blog comes to you in 4 parts!
1. Influence
2. Party
3. Punishment
4. 2-Cents

This past year has been full of help growing pai
ns in the life of our blog. It started out as forum for us sisters to talk about what is going on in our lives. The inspiration came from John and Hank Green, the Vlogbrothers and founders of Nerdfighteria. They send videos to each other via Youtube, and allow the rest of the world to witness their relationship. The community that has sprung up around their videos is called Nerdfighteria, of which Ailen and I are proud members.

Although we only recently discovered this, our aim here is the same as the Vlogbrothers "To decrease the amount of suck in the world (World Suck) by increasing awesome." Thank-you John and Hank, for being made of Awesome. And
thank-you readers, for having no other choice but to join in our extension of Nerdfighteria, I dub you Made of Awesome.

Heritage Park is not only significant in Calgary's history, it is also significant in our blog's history. It was there that Ailen found out we had a blog, and
there where we celebrated with Patty and Paco the day that I had started it.

- guest writer, Ailen

for Kelsey's first punishment, a couple of readers unanimously agreed on a punishment.
We all know that Kelsey is only vain about one thing.... her eyebrows.
So the only suitable and reasonable punishment included a whole lot of plucking!

Because you readers are made of awesome, you have reduced World Suck by contributing your 2-cent review of our blog. On this anniversary of Sisters & Such, you have raised $55.00 for the children of the GSAM! Thanks so much everyone, head's up, we'll be doing this next year too!