Posts in Inspiration

Not Your Mother’s Holiday Market

The Leon Night Market & Perch Travelling Boutique Present

Not Your Mother’s Holiday Market

November 20th & November 21st

Leon Night Market – 264 Leon Avenue

All Ages, 3pm-8pm

The Leon Night Market is proud to announce the first ever Pop Up Shop with Perch Travelling Boutique. 264 Leon Avenue is opening it’s doors again to local vendors across the Okanagan to come together and sell their crafts in one central market location.

It’s that time of year again to start thinking about Christmas and what to get your family for the holidays. We have the perfect solution for you! Not Your Mother’s Holiday Market includes the following local vendors:

Perch Travelling Boutique
Sarah Parsons Art
Sarah MacKinnon
Green Vanity
Petunia’s Bazaar
Nicole Young

Warm up with delicious Canoe Coffee Roasters and come check us out November 20-21st, 3-8pm, and support local vendors and the Leon Night Market.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Leon Night Market Facebook

Awesome Okanagan Facebook

2013: A Retrospective

One year has gone by since I was welcomed as a contributor to the A-OK team and granted with many fantastic opportunities. In this retrospective I’d like to look back at some of my favorite events and meetings from the past year. More-so than just retreading the events this post will be dedicated to a more personal odyssey of what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown over the last year as a self-proclaimed journalist striving to immerse myself in our rich and vibrant community.   (Click on any of the headlines to be directed to my coverage of that event)

Honorable Mentions:

Keloha, Ecotone, Lille Gard.

Great festivals featuring many great artists and musicians in one place.
Lots of good friends made these fun, memorable times.
A special thanks goes out to all of the people whose hard work made them possible.

Top 5:

#5 – Okanagan Arts Awards

No other time did I get to dress so fancy, act so professional, or feel so exclusive as I did this night. After watching a motivational awards ceremony I got to socialize with with other well dressed supporters and talented achievers while drinking complimentary wine and eating hors d’oeuvres. The party continued on into the night  at Hanna’s Lounge and Grill on the waterfront…

#4 – By Divine Right interview

One of the two interviews I conducted this year with out of town musicians. It was a great experience and honor interviewing indie rock legend Jose Contreras who’s fronted the band throughout its 20 years and 10 albums and has appeared in music videos on MTV in the 90’s. He was really friendly as well, giving me a personal look into the life and times of an established and professional musician.

#3 – Center of Gravity

What I enjoyed most about this event was spending time with my new found friend and acquaintance from Sublime Photography & Design backstage at the media tent and up front in the pit. Having an experienced and professional photographer around helped boost my confidence and passion for the art, and helped me have a lot of fun as well. I also got some rad pictures of big names for my portfolio, and got to shoot my first bikini contest as well. Center of Gravity hosted a smorgasbord of sports which let me step outside my realm of concert photography and realize how fun and challenging different subjects can be.

#2 –‘ Tiger Moon’ video shoot

I’ve always had a strong interest in film, but lack the resources and funds to seriously pursue it on my own. So when I was given the opportunity to film the debut video of local band Tiger Moon’s  song ‘North Highway’ I was thrilled to bits. Along with A-OK’s editor in chief we drove out to a fancy acreage, met the wonderful Kasey Graff and Dan Tait, and shot the video in the loft of their fabulous garage using professional camera equipment. It was a fun time, and seeing the finished product instilled me with the greatest sense of accomplishment yet.

#1 – Festival in a Box

This was probably the least sanctioned of events that I attended this year, but also the funnest. A bunch of great fiends and people gathered together to engage the community and express their talents and art. It poured rain that day, but it didn’t put a damper on the experience and even helped to cement the whole experience in my memory.

This concludes my retrospective of 2013.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

I hope it will be as full of friends, fond memories, and opportunities as the last.


Sincerely, your friendly neighborhood contributor, Dylan Mazur.

Off to England: The Lake Monsters Take on the English Channel

Photo by Angelique Duffield

The Lake Monsters in our team suits: Phred, Denise, Tracey, Leora, and Mike. Photo by Angelique Duffield

Well, the time has finally arrived! The Lake Monsters head to Dover, England this week for our chance to tackle swimming the English Channel. We have been told by our support boat captain that if the weather remains good we will likely make our attempt on August 1st. If the weather doesn’t cooperate right away, we have until the 6th of August to make our attempt.

Just as a refresher: the Channel is 35km across in a straight line, but because of the currents we will likely swim a greater distance than that. We are not allowed to wear wetsuits and the water temperature in the Channel is currently 16ºC. We’ve been training in the lake since it was 8ºC so that we won’t become hypothermic in the 16º water. Our start time will likely be around 1 or 2am as that is when the tides are retreating from the English coast, giving us some help getting out into the Channel (but we’ll have to start by swimming in the dark with glow sticks on our caps to make us visible to our support boat). We each swim for one hour at a time and then rotate through. If anyone can’t complete their shift, touches the support boat, or touches anyone on that support boat before their hour is up the entire team will be disqualified. The swim will be monitored by a member of the Channel Swimming Association and will be considered “complete” when a swimmer from the team clears the water line on the French coast. We anticipate that it will take us between 15 and 18 hours based on our swimming abilities, but again if we run into rough waters, jellyfish, or bad currents it could take us much longer.

I am excited to go and feel that we are ready! The majority of the team completed the Interior Savings Across the Lake Swim this weekend and we all put in good times for that 2.1 km swim. Now we get to take it easy on our bodies until we get to Dover and start training in the cold water again (our lake is currently around 22ºC).

My last submission for Awesome Okanagan will be published in late August or early September (after I get back from my travels) to let everyone know how it went. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Awesome Okanagan (particularly Brandon) for letting me use this forum to talk about my experience training for this over the last year and for being so supportive of our swim!

Finally, we are raising money for the Y Strong Kids campaign as part of our Channel Swim attempt. If you’d like more information about this charity or would like to support my team please go here.

The Wild Oak: Nourish, Connect, Inspire


A Mother, a Wife, a Creative Entrepreneur, a witch in the kitchen: Heidi Jordan is a woman stepping into her power, and the results are visible magic.

A simple memory fueled Jordan’s confidence. As an adult woman she felt disconnected from her passion, highly capable and full of enthusiasm, but her intuition continued to nudge her forwards. A flash to a memory long since stashed away reminded Jordan that she has always known what to do, and that she is now a grown-up, fueled to execute what her subconscious has been preparing her for. Let me introduce to you to Heidi Jordan, a Modern Career Woman & the brain behind your new favourite place to nourish, connect & inspire: The Wild Oak Café & Community Market in Armstrong.


Design has played a large role in how you’ve approached your business, from your branding on your handmade business cards to the logo in the window, your eclectic furniture has been curated with a deliberate hand—what was your design process in this space?
When we started the space had low ceilings, florescent lighting, dark walls—it was a hairdresser’s shop. I kind of came into it with ideas of what to create, and a feeling to create, but didn’t know how to go about doing that. I am blessed to have a dad, a brother and a husband who are all carpenters. I was like okay, this is what I need to do, and they came in and did it. I would come along and embellish. I like to have the last word on design, but the collaborative nature of this project meant that the final outcome was something that I would have never come up with on my own, the Wild Oak is a true community effort!

Environment seems to be very important to you. What are some aspects which you keep in mind while creating a space?
I design a space based on the five senses. I recently worked at a Pilates studio, and noticed how atmosphere creates environment. This always rings true, and visually I need to be able to breath. White walls, high ceilings, keeping the space uncluttered—relaxed. Music is key for me, it’s always on, and if there’s silence in the air my staff is on it. They change the music, turn up the volume, a good vibe comes from good music. Gaz, my husband, is a musician. The soundtrack of our lives is very important.

How does it feel to own your own business?
I don’t even know yet. It feels (grabs face) sometimes unbelievable. Almost as if I’m playing house. I say to myself, “So how are you enjoying playing café?” (laughs). I Have to remind myself on a daily basis that I’m doing this. We dreamt of this for years. Often tried to do it, but it wasn’t the right time or the right place. This space came up for lease and they were on it. It’s a production. Start from square one, make your way through, finish one part of it, realize that you have jump into another. The business is ever growing, always expanding.


Have you always seen yourself as a businesswoman?
Certainly wouldn’t say that I’ve always seen myself as a professional. Inside I feel like a little girl. When I’m walking around in my womanly body I feel like a little girl with loads of hopes and loads of dreams. I love to give myself a challenge and see it through to the end the best I possibly can. I see myself as a businesswoman for sure.

Continue Reading…

Picture The Ocean Back In Peach City


Matt Blackie (Drums, Vocals), Jacquie B (Keyboard, Accordian, Vocals) Jess Dee (Guitar, Vocals)

A musical trio called Picture The Ocean, who happen to be three of my favourite musicians will be arriving in Penticton on Thursday (May 23rd) for another intimate performance at The Elite. Special guests this go-around will be local favourites Jack Rabbit & The Beetles.

What makes this visit by PTO extra-special is their return from international touring visiting the UK, Europe and India for the first time together. Before embarking on such a stretch of travel they did a tour across Western Canada and even up to Anchorage, Alaska… Then across the northern US with some stops in Ontario before catching their flights to the UK. I need a nap just thinking about the miles they’ve put in!


Taking time off since setting foot on home soil has afforded some much needed R&R and family time, as well as a whole flood of new material which I can’t bloody well wait to experience! PTO can’t be put into a shoe box, categorized or labelled. They are their own unique creation of substantial musicians and performers. They are singers, songwriters, players, and storytellers. They’re the drivers and mechanics of a well oiled machine; evident in the nature of their songwriting with tales of insight and adventure on the exciting but often lonely open road. Most important to be on this road with those you love, and with that I offer another CONGRATULATIONS to Jesse & Jacquie on their engagement last summer!

I strongly urge everyone to check out PTO’s tunes on their site by clicking here… Perhaps purchase their debut album (or anything in the catalogue!) and show support for this insanely hardworking and talented band.  And then pop on down to The Elite at 340 Main Street in Penticton on Thursday, May 23rd to see your new favourite band perform LIVE!

Checking In with the Lake Monsters: The Team Has Changed but Cold Water Remains the Same

We are 110 days away from our English Channel attempt and we’ve had some big changes on the team. Our teammate Paul spent his winter ice swimming. That involves swimming in water below 5 degrees Celsius, in just a speedo! After swimming a mile in those conditions in December, Paul became Canada’s first official Ice Swimmer, which gained him international attention.

Paul Duffield swimming in the frigid lake this winter. Photo courtesy of Angelique Duffield

Paul Duffield swimming in the frigid lake this winter. Photo courtesy of Angelique Duffield

Since then, Paul has decided to pursue other goals related to Ice Swimming and will not be joining us on the Channel. (More to come about that in a future post.)

So the Lake Monsters are down to five! It means that we’ll each have to swim additional legs of the relay so we have all stepped up our training and will continue to do so over the next couple months. My teammate Phred and I have also begun the acclimatization process again. We got in the lake last weekend on a stormy day. The air temp was 10 degrees and the lake temp was 9! It was a shock after spending the winter in the pool. We spent 20 minutes in the water and will keep adding 10 minutes per week.

Phred and I get in the lake on a stormy, dreary day. Photo courtesy of Ashley Russo.

Phred and I get in the lake on a stormy, dreary day. Photo courtesy of Ashley Russo.

In addition to the swimming and time in the gym that we’ll be putting in over the next couple months, we are also raising money for the Y Strong Kids Campaign. Our lives have been made immeasurably better because of our access sports (and of course, swimming) and we want to make that possible for local children as well. As part of our fundraising campaign, my teammate Phred has designed a Lake Monsters toque and we are selling them for $20 each with all proceeds going to the Y Campaign.


I know it’s spring and everyone is thinking about beach gear but as they say on Game of Thrones “Winter is Coming.” So get yourself a stylish toque for next year and support a worthy local charity while you’re at it. If you would like to buy a toque please email Phred at:

Thomas Kjorven’s 24 Weeks

I’m sitting, freezing, in my office upstairs at Habitat with friend and local musician Thomas Kjorven. Thomas is wearing a toque and neither of us take our jackets off – I’ve gotten used to wearing mine throughout the work day. We only just got an HVAC installed (it’s not turned on yet) and we have no insulation. In the Winter it regularly hovers around 0º; in the Summer it can get up to the mid 30’s. It’s hard to say which is worse and I’m reminded of Robert Frost’s poem Fire & Ice. We huddle around the space heater I keep under my desk. It’s working as hard as it can to heat us up, though my office is one of three without a true ceiling so much of the heat dissipates into the building. I like to pretend we’re around a campfire; one hand is clutching Kjorven’s latest EP, 24 weeks, the other pouring us each a mug of Chai Baba‘s Candied Almond Tea.


I’m trying to remember the last time Thomas and I chatted. We crossed paths at a concert a couple weeks ago but it’s probably been since Keloha in July since we actually discussed anything in-depth. Today’s topic is his very personal EP and the journey his family has been on since we last spoke. Incidentally it was around late-June that Thomas’ last album came out. It wasn’t uncommon for him to be constantly releasing new material so, to me at least, it feels like it’s been a lot longer since then. Sometimes it just takes that kind of inspiration you can’t ignore. Since he turned his garage into a studio, Thomas finds he’s always working on stuff, especially recently.

“My wife had our first son, extremely premature at 24 weeks,” Kjorven explains, “they say the chance of life is very slim, and some doctors won’t even ethically resuscitate a baby before then. So we were 24 and 6 days, that’s how close we were.” It only took 5 minutes from when they realized his wife Shar was going into labour before their son Ruel popped out, weighing only 1.5 lbs. For those unfamiliar with the process of birthing, I took 23 1/2 hours of labour and weighed 7 lbs 11 oz. Granted I took a little longer than most babies and tried to kill both my mom and me in the process — a fact she’s keen to remind me of whenever I act like an ass — but that still gives you a point of reference.


Thomas continues, “The BC Children’s team came down immediately from Vancouver and flew him in an incubator down to the children’s hospital. It was a really scary time, we didn’t know what was going to happen but we knew we were on a road.” Thomas’ voice begins to tremble slightly. I can see it in his eyes, how fresh all of this is still in his mind and it’s not surprising really. I followed the progress on Facebook, but hearing it in real life it’s more poignant. My eyes water throughout the interview.

“Every day was a battle. Every day you’d come into the INCU and it looks like some sorta sci-fi movie. There’s rows and rows of incubators of all these little babies, and each incubator has assigned a nurse that’s on it 24 hours. It’s incredible what they do there.” Kjorven goes on to describe all the tubes, ventilators and IVs attached to his tiny baby boy. Often days would be one step forward, two steps back. “We were just so amazed with the BC Children’s team… …the decisions they have to make on a daily basis.”

Baby Ruel is now home after 150 days in the hospital. All the while Ruel and Shar were in Vancouver, Thomas was commuting back and forth on a weekly basis. He would come home every Sunday night, work during the week, drive back to Van every Friday. It was during these week nights that Thomas was writing and recording 24 weeks, perhaps hoping to bring about a catharsis. “I would be home alone, kind of trying to work through this in my mind, waiting on the phone calls. The only way I know how to like, get my emotions out there was to write. So I’d go into the studio with my headphones on and that would be my therapy.”


This album was a very different exploration for Kjorven who normally likes to keep his lyrics open-concept, allowing multiple interpretations to each song, making each song personal for who was listening to it. With 24 weeks, Thomas bares his heart and soul on each track, but also found new inspiration to draw parallels and paint metaphors in a way he never had before. What we get out of it is an intimate, chronological play-by-play of the Kjorven’s journey.

The first track, ‘Change,’ was written when Thomas and Shar first discovered she was pregnant. The song chronicles the shift in his psyche, realizing he’s about to become a father and all that comes with it. ‘Fast Forward’ is when Ruel was admitted to the hospital shortly after birth. ‘Beautiful Hell’ weaves between the day-to-day highs and lows. Daily setbacks interspersed with forward momentum created a bittersweet dichotomy for Kjorven. ‘Orange’ conveys a level of impatience with the process. Driving between Kelowna and Vancouver, Thomas watched the leaves closely. “I knew this wouldn’t be all resolved until at least Winter time. So I’d be looking in the green trees. I’d be looking for signs of fall, little bits of orange and yellow.” ‘Breathe’ is a man’s plea with machines hooked up to his only child’s lungs (Ruel spent most of his time with machines breathing for him) while ‘Look How Far You’ve Come’ is a celebration, bringing the whole family home for the first time.


It was during this process that I learned something new about Thomas. He hated being away from his boy so he would find himself sitting next the incubator for hours at a time. It was during this that Thomas started sketching again for the first time in years, making a hobby out of little Monster-of-the-Day portraits. At the time, these scenes were merely a way to pass the time but eventually Kjorven found great reception when posting them on Facebook and is looking to transfer some to posters, canvas and tee shirts. “Me and my wife really want to give back to BC Children’s. They really saved our boy’s life and we feel so in debt to them.”

Rather than simply write a check to the hospital, Thomas wants to take his platform as an artist to raise awareness around these real-life heroes. 24 weeks is available online on Thomas’s website as choose-your-price, with full proceeds going to the BC Children’s Hospital, same goes for the hard copy of the album, and all the prints of the monsters he will be making.

You can grab a Monster-of-the-Day print and/or a hard copy of 24 Weeks on March 16th when Thomas Kjorven performs at the Jail Bird Art Show 3, a night of local art at Habitat. Along with copies of his album and Monster-of-the-Day prints, you will be able to make a donation to the BC Children’s hospital. There will also be artwork for sale by Alexandra Tremblay, Habitat’s current artist in residence. Come out to support a great cause and get to know Thomas a little bit more.

BESTiE – Pineapple

Happy VD. I had a chance encounter with Vancouver band BESTiE whilst attending a Tough Lovers gig at Fernando’s back in November. One of the guys in Tough Lovers told me that BESTiE band member, Tristan, also ran the music site, one I had found during the golden days of Blog House back in 2008. After their show I spoke with him a bit about the early days of the genre, mutual friends, the dance parties they introduced me to, and how winnie cooper was a partial inspiration for me to revive my blog ‘career.’

Well, they recently released a tropical punch-in-the-jaw they claim is a video for their song “Pineapple.”

Yeah, this is a video.

Yeah, this is a video.

This tasty treat is filled with all kinds of symbolism that I won’t understand until I’m older. If I didn’t already spend every not-summer-day counting down how many days are left until summer, I’m sure this video would completely engender that sentiment as well. Rumour has it they’ll be back in the Okanagan this Spring, but you didn’t hear it from me.

We passed the halfway point to Summer a week ago.