If you’ve seen How to Be a Vancouverite, or if you are one, or if you know any of us, you know how uniquely weird we can be. We effing love kale, and it’s a joke how much that isn’t a joke. If you’ve ever been here or moved here or tried to make friends outside of work or school, maybe you know how isolating it can be, and how lonely; we’re stand-offish, I’ve heard, even snobs. And while those things aren’t entirely untrue, they also aren’t universal. When it rains, and it rains more than even we expect it will, sometimes you can come inside and find a bit of warmth, a hot drink and a dry hand to hold.
And when the rain won’t let up for you, shelter will appear.
I told you what seems like forever ago about my friend Aimee. I also told some local bloggers about her, and they were generous in their offer to spread the word about Aimee’s fundraiser and other ways to help. So, now I’d like to tell you about them. They are shelter. They are warm.
North Shore Mama is written by Jessica Blumel, who lives just across the inlet in North Vancouver. Her blog is the ultimate resource for what to do in North Van; I check it often, because North Van isn’t that far away and everything she’s doing just seems like so much fun. Her family is beautiful and when I’ve had my third glass of wine late, late at night, I sometimes imagine that my life would look like hers if Toddler had just been a girl and maybe less destructive. Her blog feels like home, and I don’t even live there.
Let ME Out is a blog by the inspirational Taslim Jaffer. Taslim is basically Chicken Soup for the Soul-incarnate; we are Facebook friends and she literally never complains about anything – her outlook is unwaveringly positive. She definitely doesn’t have a list of people to stab. She took those dark days of early motherhood and turned them into fuel; now she’s changing the world for the better, in small ways and big ones. Her blog feels like a hug and a nudge in the right direction, life-wise.
Erin McGann is an ex-ex-pat, a Canadian who went to London and came back with her husband and one sweet, adorable boy. I believe I have tricked her into being my friend IRL; she likes good beer and cheese and the stuff of tasty, rainy evenings so I am glad it’s working out. She plays the cello, tweets about symphonies, writes extremely well, and makes damn good kale (and green smoothies, of course). Her blog feels like a lunch date at a brewpub with the kind of person who is most certainly wearing socks that match.
Tairalyn Ciulla is Little Miss Mama, a fashion blogger with a flair for DIY. I don’t know how she comes up with those outfits or that stuff, but she’s very clever and has got this style thing down. I kind of just want to mail her a wad of cash every month or so to have her do my shopping. Her photos are beautiful, her daughter is a doll, and she has mastered the art of curvy-girl style – no easy feat, let me tell you (I just gave up pretty much). Her blog feels like high tea with rainbow macarons after a long day of shopping.
Melissa Carr runs The Thirties Grind, and is our sassy first lady of real estate gripes. She’s hilarious and spot-on; her awkward Vancouver property of the week feature will have you cringing and crunching the numbers on a move to anyplace else. We have most of the same opinions, which means she is extremely intelligent (obviously). She drinks wine, says swears, and profiles the Real Real Housewives of Vancouver, which is basically a public service. Her blog feels like wine on a patio with someone who’s got all the good gossip.
Eschelle Westwood invented a more attainable perfection – “mumfection.” Her #ManCandyMonday feature is just what you need after slogging through a full morning of emails and pop-ups from your Outlook calendar about meetings you aren’t prepared for. Her kitchen is probably the good kind of messy – like, no fruit flies but probably there are cookies on plates just waiting for you to walk by. Lately she’s been speaking at conferences and moving on up – watch her. Her blog feels like your BFF’s living room.
Lisa Corriveau is the kind of mom I set out to be, but kind of failed at. She tried and succeeded at baby-led weaning. She can bike uphill, in a dress. She is green and energetic and even though she just had a baby, she is probably not even covered in vomit right now. Her blog is required reading if you strive to simultaneously uphold the pillars of crunchiness and sanity while parenting a toddler; how she’s doing it with a toddler and a newborn, I have no idea. Her blog feels like a bike ride just after the rain – refreshing and calm.
Bethany Scheidl is a Vancouver photographer who also happens to be a friend of another friend of both Aimee and me. Her photos somehow manage to capture your most perfect version of yourself. She is an artist. She is a photographer and not really a blogger, but she offered to document Aimee’s battle and the images are so beautiful, I wanted you to see them (link above).
Through everything Aimee’s been and going through, there have been people who have wanted – in many cases clamored – to help. We drop off meals every week, and diapers and gift cards and little presents from friends and acquaintances and even strangers. It is raining, but there are umbrellas everywhere. If you need help, it’s out there. We’re out there.
If you want to help Aimee and her family, our campaign of support is ongoing.
If you’re in Vancouver or the surrounding area and want to help, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate pick up or delivery of prepared meals or donations of grocery items, baby needs, and stuff like that; if you are a breastfeeding mother and want to donate milk, email email@example.com. If you are able, you can donate to Aimee’s brother’s fundraising efforts here.
We’re hoping to do something special for Aimee’s baby’s first Christmas; we’d like to drop a package of goodies off to her on November 15. We’re looking for gift cards to help them with their holiday shopping and meals, festive (sugar- and flour-free) treats, and unbreakable trinkets for their tree.
Send your positive vibes out west – they are working, the tumours are shrinking, and though there’s still a ways to go, there is sunlight peaking out from behind all these grey clouds.