Bitches Be Witches

Four years ago, Jess Salgueiro started writing her book, Bitches be Witches. Somewhere along the way, we started to combine ideas and talk a lot about the kind of movement that was most important to us as women and as artists. We’re both pretty “witchy,” in that we love delving deeper into the magic powers that all women possess just by virtue of being women.

Bitches be Witches is a collaboration: we want it to be an open, accepting forum showcasing the magic in everyday life, women we’re inspired by, people who are doing progressive and exciting work… you name it. If you have art of writing that you want to publish– reach out to us. We are very excited about diversifying the material and giving women a voice.

Jess and I are collaborating with a very talented and witchy a f artist, Meaghan Harris, to make this website beautiful.  We’re launching on July 15th 🙂

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What I’m working on…

Despite the nonsensical name of this website, I’ve started updating things here and there to get back to using it.

When I started acting, I was very intense about STOPPING ALL OTHER THINGS. I guess it was good, because I focused on that craft really intensely for the last three years. This winter, life started to test me more than usual, and I realized: I cannot be limited to one art form!

There’s lots of weird things on here that I’m not super proud of, but overall, its a compilation of many phases of my life, starting back in 2010. I’M OLD NOW.

Here’s what’s in the works:

  • FILM/TELEVISION
    Right now, I’m working on two film projects. One is a short I wrote, NAILS, that we’re about to film. The other is a webseries that I’m writing with the amazing Jess Salgueiro. We’re planning to start shooting in August. The title is a work in progress, but, inspired by the wonderful Instagram stories of Busy Phillips, we’re thinking THIS IS WHO I AM NOW.
  • ART
    I’m selling some artwork I made following the Women’s Marches in January. I actually put it on Shopify, and although I have no idea how to work Paypal, this old-school gal is getting there. Click here to see it!

Looking forward to producing some things and sharing them. XOXO

emily is no longer down unda

Hello people of the internet. I haven’t been around much (on this particular platform), basically in 2.5 years since I moved to Toronto to pursue acting. I guess it’s going well since I’m still going and to quote myself (can you do that?) “The fire in me is burning hotter than ever!”

I realize that this website is at the bottom of my email signature, and someone recently put a bio of me on their website and included this link. I got instantly really stressed because it’s been mostly a compilation of journalistic work and travel writing from 9 million years ago. I have been travelling, although not really in an adventurous way. I’ve been going back to places that I love for specific reasons: mostly to visit friends, watch theatre, and eat cheese. (Copenhagen, London, Paris, New York)

I have been really loving travelling to cities lately, which used to be something I found overwhelming. The main reason is most likely that I have a lot higher credit limit now, and I have trained myself to turn off “money brain.” Money brain refers to my previous travel self, who made decisions based on how much money I had. Now, I still have none, but I just yolo and do things anyway. This makes for much more exciting meals and much comfier beds. Overall, travel gets better as you get older (I think.)

I’ll always look back really fondly on backpacking, though. My sister did her first back pack around Europe trip this summer (I met her at the end for wine and AirBnB) and although I had a split second of aww, I wish I was doing that… the more important feeling was eww, I’m so glad I never have to sleep in a hostel again. 

My final thoughts on travel for today: I have two friends that are performing in Edinburg Fringe Festival this summer, and they had a preview of their show here in Toronto. This was hands-down the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. The sister duo– Flo and Joan– write and perform hilarious songs, intertwined with some improvised bits and some standup. It’s brilliant. They are from the UK and some of the best performers on Earth, I believe. (It’s not just me, everyone in the audience every time they perform is t r a n s f i x e d.) Anyway, they have a song about travelling, and how Western women go on these ridiculous trips to “find themselves.” It is, of course, mocking that idea…but it really resonated with me. I thought, after university, that running away to Australia (or Denmark, or wherever) was going to be the answer to the pit of sadness and restlessness in my stomach. Actually, what I really needed (focus, art, community) was waiting for me at home. I used to encourage young people to get out and travel (which I still do! I think it’s very important) but I also have changed my views a bit and also encourage them to work on something while they do it. Travelling with no plans or purpose can be liberating, exciting, and character-building. It can also be really hard, unsatisfying, and scary (also good for character-building.) Whatever, life is hard and making choices is really hard too. Just do whatever you want, it’ll work out.

Emilydownunda is perhaps the most inaccurate name for this blog as it currently exists, as I am no longer down under…but I’m going to keep it anyways. There’s a history of travel and of journalism and thoughts that make me who I am today. Although I’m going to update this place so all the thousands of filmmakers desperate to hire me can look at my resume, this will always be a place where I can come back and re-live former Emily’s life, too.

 

Brunch on Roncey

One of the many perks to living in Toronto is having ½ my parents (dad and step-mom) around for weekend strolls and brunch.

Dad and step-mom on Roncesvalles.

Dad and step-mom on Roncesvalles.

Cherry Bomb! My Melbourne fix for the week.

Cherry Bomb! My Melbourne coffee snob moment for the week. #flatwhite #loveit

Sharing a chicken wing.

Sharing a chicken wing.

Now that I’m super busy with acting classes and a new job, I finally have the urge to blog! Isn’t that always the way. This weekend I got my camera out for a little jaunt around Roncesvalles. I love Roncey and its cute shops, fruit stands, coffee shops and restaurants. It’s close to Parkdale so it still has some funky/hip flava. I aspire to live in a place like Roncesvalles when I’m a grown-up. It’s also just so nice to see leaves on trees and cherry blossoms blossoming. Spring is great.

The Roncey Flea market was open, so naturally I ended up in a conversation with a crystal lady. I bought earrings made of Golden Apatite from Mexico, which apparently helps with goal achievement and confidence.  I can always talk myself into purchasing a crystal!

After a walk, we went into The Ace, a quaint little spot with a trendy-diner vibe.  It was packed—and for good reason.

The food was great but the Caesar was to die for! Wow. I consider myself a bit of a Caesar connoisseur, especially after 9 months without one while I was in Australia. Now, I’m on a binge. I usually order them virgin, because I prefer the taste without vodka. This one was packed with horseradish, and topped with onion, asparagus, olive, a spicy bean, and a pickle.

We were pretty excited about the pickle— the most garlicky/amazing pickle you’ll ever taste—aaaaaand we know the pickler! Once you try this pickle you’ll be scouring the streets for more, but don’t worry! You’re in luck! You can buy jars of Voth’s Pickled Delights right from The Ace.

Waiting patiently to be seated.

Waiting patiently to be seated.

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Service.

Kitchen.

Kitchen.

My mushroom, spinach and cheddar omelette with arugula salad.

My mushroom, spinach and cheddar omelette with arugula salad.

As per usual.

As per usual.

Voth's Pickled Delights.

Voth’s Pickled Delights. Find them on Facebook!

Good company.

Good company.

MEL-YYZ

Welcome to Toronto, Canada!

On February 20, I took the long journey from Melbourne to start over in Toronto. I was born in the GTA, but haven’t ever lived downtown (or in the area since i was 12!)  I couldn’t be more excited to explore this amazing city and call it home for a while.

Those of you who know me (and if you’re reading this, i’ll assume you do) know I did a Bachelor of Journalism and spent the last year travelling around Australia and New Zealand. My time away from home made me reflect on what I truly want out of my life, and made me realize how much I miss my performance days. Alas, I am finally taking acting classes and starting fresh in this terrifying industry. I couldn’t be happier about it.

Journalism (and what I have gotten to do because of journalism) is always going to be a part of who I am, but I’m happy to finally be at peace with myself and my true aspirations. Writing is therapeutic and something I will always do for fun, and I want to keep it that way.

Join me as I explore the next chapter of life and all that Toronto has to offer!

Girls

When I moved to Melbourne I hoped to find a job and some friends, but wasn’t sure how long I’d stick around. Really, I just hoped for some personal growth and career clarity… with some adventures along the way. What I didn’t expect (nor think about the importance of) was finding a group of like-minded girlfriends that would become my rock(s).

Now that I can reflect on the person I was pre-Australia and who I am today, it has become clear to me how much I owe to my girlfriends– the fabulous group of soul sisters I encountered entirely by chance.  This group of amazing ladies helped me grow into a more confident woman and showed me the true meaning of acceptance.

On my second day in Melbourne, I found myself eavesdropping on two girls in a shop.  A comment was made about the cold—it was about 12 degrees—and it was my time to shine. As a Canadian abroad, you can always pop into a conversation about weather and know that your comment about being able to handle the cold will always get a smile. (It should be noted, however, that by the end of my stay in Australia, I was putting on a fake Aussie accent so people wouldn’t ask me anything typically Canadian. That early on, though, I was still riding the foreign-charm-wave.)

The sales girl was Swedish, so she understood winter like I do. The cool Aussie customer had her own connection to Canada, so it was friendship fate! Despite thinking I would never be cool enough to be friends with a long-skirt-trendy-hat wearing gal like her, I accepted her invitation to go to dinner that week with her and her girlfriends.  (Before I leave the store scene, I’ll mention that the girl working in the store became a great friend of mine, too. Best shopping day ever!)

A week later, I stood like a fish out of water outside a restaurant on the north side of town.  I was a long way from my south side home, and I was feeling doubtful and insecure. I was worried the girls would think it was awkward for me to accept the invitation. I was dizzy and a bit nauseous, but I didn’t know if I should admit to being hung over—I had no idea if these girls liked to party (LAWL).

Was I overdressed? I was wearing faux leather pants and massive heels (first and last time in Australia), with my hair perfectly curled and red lipstick—probably the least Emily-ish thing I could have worn. I was also alone because these girls were now 40 minutes late. You can see how I, the most insecure person in Melbourne, was spiraling into a panic.

A group of girls (who are chronically an hour behind schedule, it’s not personal) dressed for a sailing party walked in, extending apologies and asking me questions.  They were friendly and genuine without making me feel like a weirdo for sitting alone waiting for my mystery friends. I felt an instant yearning to be friends with these people, but wasn’t convinced they’d feel the same about me.

I soon found myself invited to an Arrested Development slumber party where I was delighted to see that, like me, these girls liked to eat! It was course after course, snack after snack, and even themed desserts. Girls after my own heart.  Slowly but surely, I was wine-ing and dining on the regular with this group of hilarious and wild ladies.

It takes being away from your usual girlfriends to realize how scary it can be trying to make new, real friends. I didn’t even realize how much I needed people that were real and genuine until they were put in front of my face. I desperately wanted to be part of the group, but I was realistic in my expectations. It’s not very often that a group of cool girls take in someone off the street—literally.  I decided that all I could do was be available without seeming too desperate, and hope for the best. I spent more time thinking about this cluster of relationships than about any guy I was interested in!  I felt like my happiness in Australia was dependent on the development of having solid girls around me.

I’ll hop into the present for a second. Since I’ve been back in Canada, I’ve had many questions about my “best memory” or my “favourite experience” while abroad.  I’ve changed the story depending on the audience and whether I feel like being funny or serious. So here’s the best experience I had abroad, in Australia for sure, and possibly ever:

Just before Christmas, I made the last-minute decision to take the weekend off for a girl’s weekend in a beach town called Lorne. The weekend was something out of a movie. I’ll set the scene: Eight girls, unlimited food and alcohol, a gorgeous beach house, a birthday girl, glitter, hundreds of nail polishes, iPhones loaded with new Beyonce, the first heat of summer, the crashing ocean in the distance, spring animals, a Mexican restaurant, and a cheesy/ hoppin’ club.  Not only was it a blast, but I exited Lorne feeling like a new version of myself.

I think that weekend will stand out for every one of us that was there. The vibes were calm and positive. No one left the room to go on their phones. No conversation was left off the table. Whether we were having a group conversation of a private heart-to-heart, there was a feeling of acceptance and freedom that floated all through the air. The worries I had while abroad seemed to be pacing around Melbourne, while a clear version of myself was lounging in Lorne.  Although we were only away for 48 hours—not nearly long enough—it was like we had all gone to therapy/massage/yoga and back again. I never felt so secure about my current life choices, my future aspirations, or even my appearance.  It was the best feeling to see myself, an individual, fitting into a group of confident women who all had something unique to offer.

So what did I gain from these girls? Firstly, I learned how to shop in awesome second hand stores, how to do the Melbourne Shuffle, and how to cook some amazing vegan dishes. I learned to be self-assured, trust my opinion, stand up for myself, and be confident in what I had to offer the world. I learned to be accepting and non-exclusive. I learned to chill out, go out, and be exhausted while serving coffee on the weekend.  I learned there’s not a lot in this world that pho and a Beyonce dance party cannot fix.

Most importantly, though, I learned that the power of an army of girls is enough to carry you through any adversity—and if you’re with the right group of girls, that’s exactly what they’ll do.  

Thank you, to every single lady that was in my Melbourne life. Each friendship came into my life when I needed it the most, and each person was so important to my growth in my time away from home.  Wonderful girlfriends defined each pocket of my life in Melbourne.  I’ll extend the dedication of this post to all my girls, at home in Canada, and all over the world.

I love you all!

Miss Margarita: Byron’s Burrito Specialist

I mentioned this meal in my vegetarian travel challenge post, and I owe it to the burrito to come back to it.

My first time in Byron Bay I ate the chipotle chicken version, and it was the most delicious thing I have ever tasted. This time, since I was set on being a vegetarian (since failed) I had the eggplant and mushroom one: second best thing I ever tasted.

Miss Margarita is located on the main strip close to the beach, and is a top contender for my best all-round feed in Australia. The laid-back beach vibe mixed with traditional Mexican flavours transports me to another land. Although, when in Byron, you don’t want to be transported anywhere.

Let the photos guide you all the way to New South Wales to get up in this burrito.

*Not gluten free; I was very ill afterwards. Worth it.

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