2020 ‘buy-nothing’ year update

In the hours before sitting down to write this blog post in November, I bought sweaters and dresses from Asos, an outfit from Aritzia and two dresses from Grass-fields. Did I mention this was supposed to be my ‘buy-nothing’ year?

I don’t need to tell you how challenging 2020 was: like me, you lived it. Every month presented new twists and turns, ups and downs, mask mandates and widespread closures. Not all of it has been bad (more about that later), but it hasn’t been easy. A few months ago, I shared an update on my buy-nothing journey with Brette Ehalt of The Women We Know, an Instagram page chronicling the everyday lives of everyday women. I began this journey inspired by another journalist who’d declared 2020 a ‘buy-nothing’ year. The rules were that you identified specific days—I chose my birthday in May and Black Friday—where I’d splurge on anything wardrobe-related. I unsubscribed from mailing lists, got rid of sales notifications and tried to shift my attention away from retail. Seemed easy enough, right?

When the pandemic hit, I was still ok. I didn’t fall off the wagon in March or April. As my birthday drew near, I began to plan for the things I wanted to buy. Then, the week of my birthday, George Floyd was killed and my life was turned upside down. His death is still having a profound impact on the work I do for the Canadian Association of Black Journalists: it was the catalyst for long overdue conservations about race and racism in journalism. Those conversations are still ongoing. I’m proud of the work the CABJ is doing and humbled by the folks I get to work alongside (like, CJOC) as we lead these important conversations.

For me, so-called retail therapy has always been my version of self-care and stress management. So, I shouldn’t have been surprised that, when things got crazy, I returned to what I’d always known. Much of what I purchased still has the tags on it now (because where am I actually going? Where are we going?? smh). I fell off the wagon in July and August. As for September and October…I mean…what wagon? Who said anything about a wagon?

The past ten months made me realize this attachment is about more than sales and the solace I find in them. This is as much a spiritual transformation as it is a physical one, so I’ve been praying into this fervently over the last several weeks. There is, after all, grace for those who try and refuse to give up.

So, that brings me to where I’m at now. Before declaring 2021 ‘buy-nothing’ year 2.0, I wanted to reflect on what this is actually about: buying less or becoming more? What I’ve learned is that if I just focus on buying less, then I won’t actually overcome this. After all, the buying is a symptom of something deeper; not a deeper problem but a deeper, unmet need. So, this year, instead of relying on willpower, I’m praying for the grace to simply overcome.

Outlet mall madness, baby birds and feisty frogs: This week, in pictures (and videos!)

I take a lot of pictures.

More often than not, I send them to my producer, who uses them to build graphics for the News Hour (the images that appear behind or over the anchor’s shoulder when they’re introducing my story). Some of these pictures also end up on social media–Twitter or Instagram.

However, some images never see the light of day…UNTIL NOW! (cue triumphant music).

At the end of my work week (which runs Wednesday to Sunday), I’m going to try and post the images and videos that never make it to air, but give you a sense of what happened that day. Let me know what you think…or, if there’s something more ‘behind-the-scenes’ that you’d like to see.

THURSDAY: OUTLET MALL MADNESS!

Hand to heart, when my Assignment Editor told me I’d be covering the opening of Metro Vancouver’s newest outlet, I told him this wasn’t a story. Seriously–a mall opening!? In my mind this hardly seemed like a big deal.

I was so wrong. So, so wrong.

The event began like any other: with a ribbon cutting.


At first, this is how I thought my story would open–with some wild sound from this. In the end, the video I shot of the ribbon cutting never saw the light of day. Moments after the ribbon was cut, shoppers crowded around the nearby Coach store, some of them pushing to get to the front of the line. I shared a shorter version of this video on Twitter. Here’s the full version:


It was like Black Friday in the middle of July. What’s more–the traffic jams commuters were dealing with because of everyone trying to get to the mall was unreal. Travellers were having trouble getting to the nearby airport–one flight was delayed! Needless to say, this became one of the top stories of the day.

SATURDAY: LNG PROTEST NEAR SQUAMISH

A small group of protesters organized a demonstration against a proposed LNG plant. The biggest difference for me with this story was, for the first time, the protest wasn’t on land.


A flotilla was organized in Howe Sound. Using horns, they made as much noise as they could to express their feelings about the proposed project.


Saturday was also the first time I tried Periscope. For those not familiar with the app, it’s used for live streaming. You can, essentially, broadcast from anywhere. I’ll be trying it more in the days and weeks to come, depending on my assignment. I think it could be a great tool for breaking news and developing story coverage.

SUNDAY: BABY BIRDS AND FIESTY FROGS

Over the last several weeks, it seems all anyone can talk about in BC has been the scorching heat and devastating wildfires. It’s unbelievable to think that, right now, there are nearly 200 fires buring in the province. Unreal.

On Sunday, I made my way to a wildlife sanctuary: Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society in Delta.


In recent weeks, they’d been receiving baby Hawks and owls forced out of their homes by smoke and fire. Not surprisingly, when I tweeted a picture.

I also came across this little guy while filming:

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At first, he seemed cool with me taking his picture…but then he was all like:

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Frogs. So fickle.

My other full-time job

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My sisters will *never* leave Toronto–much like Oprah, this is one thing I know for sure. They, like so many other Torontonians see no need to leave the big smoke…and I’ve given up trying to change their minds.

Up until 2010, the three of us (+ Mom) all shared the same home. My sisters (one older, one younger) know me better than anyone else–making them perfect roommates. While I knew I was ready to ditch TO, I wasn’t ready for the experience of life away from them: no older sister to make me dinner, no younger sister to make me laugh and (most importantly) no sisters to borrow clothes, shoes–ANYTHING–from.

However, I think I underestimated just how much absence makes the heart grow fonder. In our time apart, we’ve exchanged thousands of text messages, countless emails, lengthy (expensive) phone calls and mailed gifts (but for some reason, we’ve never Skyped or Facetimed. Weird). While there have been missed Christmases and Birthdays, I don’t feel as though I’ve missed anything at all. In fact, we have grown closer…

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The three of us have always been close. We’re close in age and are also about the same size, making for an excessive amount of wardrobe sharing (a ridiculous amount, as far as Mom was concerned. When we were teens, Mom refused to fold our laundry because she never knew who owned what). Of course there were the typical sibling fights–my younger sister and I used to fight like cat/dog growing up. Up until she came I along, I had it made: my chances of being the baby of the family were looking pretty good…  Together, we would drive our older sister bananas–back then, it was our raison d’etre.

These two months in Kitchener mark the first time I’ve lived within driving distance of my family in nearly 5 years. I’m confident I won’t spend the rest of my life/career working in Ontario–there are just too many other cities to see, places to live. Plus, I do sincerely miss life in other parts of the country–I had a blast living out east and I very much loved life out west.

I’ve decided I don’t need to live in Toronto (there, I said it) because I will always have three perfectly good reasons to visit. My Mom and sisters will always be here (or in the GTA). So, until the day I leave Ontario again, I’ll trade the phone calls and text messages for lunch dates and sleepovers (you are never too old for sleepovers. Never.). Through the years, I’ve often said sisterhood is a full-time job. It’s also the best job I’ll ever have.