<![CDATA[Dahlia Kurtz | Always Write! - Blog]]>Sun, 13 Dec 2015 08:11:26 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Dahlia: The Show With No Name]]>Wed, 04 Sep 2013 01:58:43 GMThttp://www.dahliakurtz.com/blog/dahlia-the-show-with-no-nameForgive the lack of posts lately, but I've obviously been busy naming my new radio talk show, Dahlia, on Winnipeg's 680 CJOB. It airs weekday afternoons from 1 to 3 central, and you can listen live online at CJOB.com. Now, to introduce my  r a d i o  show, I thought it would most appropriate to do it with a video. Makes sense, right? 

(P.S. Posts over here may be infrequent for now, but they're abounding on my show page.)
<![CDATA[Gwyneth Paltrow and her new liestyle crookbook]]>Tue, 09 Apr 2013 00:10:04 GMThttp://www.dahliakurtz.com/blog/gwyneth-paltrow-and-her-new-liestyle-crookbookPicture
”When I pass a flowering zucchini plant in a garden, my heart skips a beat.” – Gwyneth Paltrow

Oh the lies people tell.

The above quote is from the constantly acting actress’ crookbook, My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness.

The queen of the humble brag had other noteworthy delectables such as, “You just need some good ingredients and a few simple recipes, maybe a couple of jokes or a ‘topic to dissect’ at the table, the way they do at Nora Ephron’s house.”

Good thing most of you sit when you read, or there may be many injuries after tripping over the late writer’s name there – or other celebrity friend names casually littered throughout, as if Gwynnie’s referring to everyday buds we all share.

You too can now make $120 tuna salad.
Her latest rook, It’s All Good: Delicious Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great, features recipes that could cost $300 a day to feed a family, so you too will soon be as thin as Gwyneth, because after a couple of meals you won’t have money to eat any more.

To be fair, I haven’t read her new book, but I have read about it. It purports a gluten-free and sugar-free lifestyle, from a woman who has purported more types of diets than a magazine newsstand: Raw foods, macrobiotics, gluten-free, truth-free, bank-account-expensive …  Paltrow has peddled ‘em all. In fact, she pushed these lifestyles, while admittedly pushing herself to unhealthy extremes. In a recent interview with SELF magazine she says:

“I had to sing at awards shows, which was fun but stressful. I’d have a Guinness and a beta-blocker every time. I also was constantly getting on airplanes, trying to knock myself out with sleeping pills and wine, waking up, trying to sweat it out with exercise and a steam, and then working really hard all day.”

Even with her new diet, the 40-year-old continues to venture into questionable territory, taking her 8-year-old daughter Apple and 6-year-old son Moses along for the ride.

“Sometimes when my family is not eating pasta, bread or processed grains like white rice, we’re left with that specific hunger that comes with avoiding carbs,” she’s quoted as saying.

A healthier, tasty recipe alternative to mayo and Vegenaise.
While refined and processed carbohydrates are indeed void of nutritional value, there are necessary, nutritionally dense carbs that dense people sometimes avoid in an effort to live - or subsist - low-carb. Paltrow continuously presents herself as a knowledgeable champion of health, but her advice loses ground frequently.

Another example of this is featured in both of her cookbooks: In the first one she delighted in her “most often-used and beloved ingredient” Vegenaise (Funny, wouldn't you think bullshit is her most often-used ingredient?), calling it a healthier alternative to mayonnaise. And in her latest book she writes, "We basically can't live without Vegenaise—it's a little out of control." But a comparison between most regular mayos and her precious vego will show that both types of spreads have the same amount of calories and pretty much the same amount of saturated fat.

Much like her advice loses ground, so too does   her attempt to be one of us plebeians.

"We have apple trees at our house in Amagansett, New York, and in October they're bursting with fruit."

(Unfortunately, I don’t think her manor in London has apple trees (though I can't say the same for her other homes), so it’s a good thing she can overnight apples from her estate in Amagansett.)

“I love the English way, which is not as capitalistic as it is in America. People don't talk about work and money; they talk about interesting things at dinner parties." 

“When you go to Paris and your concierge sends you to some restaurant because they get a kickback, it's like, 'No. Where should I really be? Where is the great bar with organic wine? Where do I get a bikini wax in Paris?'"

Photo from goop.com
Her lifestyle site – or liestyle site – goop.com, says, “Determined to publish a genuine and resourceful issue each week, for many, goop has become their most trusted girlfriend on the web.”

Well, we’ve all heard stories about how well we can trust online “girlfriends” whom we’ve never met.

And if you truly believe in what she has to tell you, then your girlfriend Gwyn has a goopy spring wardrobe essentials collection to sell you for a genuine $450,000. If you can’t afford the entire collection, why not just buy a pair of $200 jeans and a $90 T-shirt from her site.

Look, celebs do lead privileged lifestyles, which often self-perpetuate through their brands. And as much as I may poke fun at them, it is understandably part of the business when you are a business unto yourself.

But Gwyneth Palt-faux is more than just your typical air-brushed ingenue; she is also a hot-air-brushed disingenue.

You know what really happens when she passes a flowering zucchini plant in her garden? It’s okay. Neither does she.

<![CDATA[The humble brag: A new social currency]]>Tue, 26 Mar 2013 22:13:34 GMThttp://www.dahliakurtz.com/blog/the-humble-brag-a-new-social-currencyPicture
Not only has bragging become socially acceptable, but it has also become the basis of our social value.

Enter the humble brag – or *humble brag* <enter>, as it were.

Remember when we were taught not to be boastful? Well, today social media is training us not to be caught being boastful.

Back in 2010, comic writer Harris Wittels coined the term humble brag, which describes an attempt to crow about oneself whilst casually presenting it under a veil of false humility.

As a national columnist, who has the opportunity to attend fun events and receive cool perks, I am certainly a repeat offender on this front. (See what I did there?)

Or how about what some other people have done:

Seriously?! My hair is curly as f***, I’m wearing a giant sweatshirt, pants, uggs, sunglasses & no makeup & still get honked ml hollered at [sic]

Just gave 100 dollars to the homeless man I see every day here in Vancouver. Irrational kindness does feel really really good [sic]

Ugh. Can’t believe tomorrow’s my birthday.

(To be fair, that last one is more of a pre-Facebook reminder to send that person a generic birthday wish than it is an actual humble brag; however, it does share the same plane of ego.)

From newspaper articles, to hashtags, to books devoted to this self-effacing, self-aggrandizing art, it seems we are becoming more and more annoyed with the humble brag. But, like the oxymoron itself, the annoyance is oxymoronically tempered by a certain delight in it.

With social media comes the opportunity to present ourselves the way we want to be seen. The better you look to others, the more others want to look better, the more you have to look better, and so on.

Objects in the Facebook profile may be appear closer to the truth than they are.

In a time when keeping up with the Joneses has become keeping up with the @Joneses, keeping up with the humble brag has become prolific.

In a recent blog post, Joe Ginese rants about this epidemic and begs people to “knock it off.”

“It is a complex aspect of having a digital identity isn’t it? You don’t want to get a reputation for bragging about what you’ve accomplished lately but you also want to let people know something you are proud of,” writes Ginese.

“Chances are if you feel the need to put humble brag in front of something or at the end of the something, you are already doing something that is above and beyond what is expected.”

The post goes on to explain how to avoid falling into this trap of modest gloating, noting that one step is to drop the “humble” from your brag. Still, is it really any less of a humble brag if we don’t identify it as such? If I don’t say that I’m 5-feet-short, does that really make me any taller?

Humble brags have become so insidious that we don’t even need to use the #humblebrag disclaimer anymore – often because we probably just don’t realize we’re humble-bragging.

It’s hard to sift through a Twitter feed and not trip on names that have been dropped, but naturally your fall is cushioned by how the drop was couched.

And how many times has a friend posted a picture framed in self-deprecation, while cloaked in self-admiration? Post: “This is a terrible picture of me.” Translation: “I only posted this picture because I think it looks good. Now please 'Like' my back and I'll 'Like' yours.”

In a poor economy, it's not surprising that we’re developing a new currency, and it is a social one: Likes, friends, follows, comments, shares – they all add to our net worth and indubitably self-worth too. So, it’s also not surprising that sites such as Klout and PeerIndex, which – dubiously – measure online influence and translate it to offline benefits, have capitalized on this. Even Forbes has asked if 2013 will be the year of loyalty programs, as brands surreptitiously train consumers to boast products on the brand’s behalf in exchange for tangible rewards.

How many humble brags does it cost to get something? Well that just depends what you’re looking to get.

When you reward someone for doing something you are reinforcing that behaviour (or e-haviour). And in this world of social media and instant gratification, there is great reward to be found in the humble brag … if I do say so myself.

<![CDATA[Wanna see me play Ping-Pong in a tutu? Watch.]]>Thu, 27 Sep 2012 21:44:17 GMThttp://www.dahliakurtz.com/blog/wanna-see-me-play-ping-pong-in-a-tutu-watchYou should have seen all the paparazzi following me after this appearance on "The Morning Show." Or maybe getting whacked with a racket by the host just made me see things.
<![CDATA[I am SuperFly]]>Mon, 02 Apr 2012 01:32:36 GMThttp://www.dahliakurtz.com/blog/she-is-superflyIt's a bird ... It's a plane ... No! Wait! It's Dahlia flying a plane! (And I may or may not have flown illegally close to the CN Tower.)
<![CDATA[National non-stupid week]]>Mon, 16 Jan 2012 23:43:30 GMThttp://www.dahliakurtz.com/blog/national-non-stupid-weekPicture
_It is national non-smoking week, but after watching an inane exchange on the news yesterday, I propose that a national non-stupid week is perhaps more in order.

Now, this television interview between a reporter and some woman off the street – who didn’t want to be identified by name for fear that she’d reveal her identity – surpasses almost every threshold of stupid imaginable.

Thresholds one through five were of course instantly surpassed by the woman’s declaration that she wanted to remain anonymous – while being broadcast live on the most-watched news station – in one of the country’s biggest cities.

If you appear on TV, not even dark sunglasses can mask your identity – or your stupid – when your nuclear orange skin, long dark hair, and mindless comments clearly expose that you are either Snooki, or a reject from The Jersey Shore casting. 

So, in an effort to get national non-stupid week off the ground, I have transcribed the aforementioned news interview, verbatim. You just can’t make this stuff up:
_Reporter: I have one guest right now and she asked that I not use her name, because she wants to protect her privacy ... We're talking about national non-smoking week. You are a smoker. Let me ask you first, how long have you been a smoker?

Stupid: I've been smoking for eight years.

Reporter: So, what made you start smoking, if I could ask?

Stupid: It was a long time ago, but it started out pretty much for, like, a stress reliever and it's been like that since.

Reporter: So, here we are for this national non-smoking week. They're asking people to maybe stop smoking for a week. Is this something you would maybe think about?

Stupid: I would consider it. And I see the pros of it, but then again, it's more of your freedom if you want to do it or not. So, I would be against a national-wide quit smoking initiative.

Yes, Stupid is against a “national-wide” quit smoking initiative, because it’s “more of your freedom if you want to do it or not.”

Well, I am for a nation-wide non-stupid initiative, because of people like Stupid. Who’s with me?

<![CDATA[Review: What's on TAPPO? ]]>Sun, 04 Dec 2011 17:13:51 GMThttp://www.dahliakurtz.com/blog/review-whats-on-tappoPicture
Sometimes I wish I were my husband so I wouldn’t have to make supper. And then I realize if I were that guy without someone to cook for me I’d probably resort to foodstuffs – like ketchup – for supper.

So sometimes you just have to treat yourself, or sometimes you’re lucky enough to have Samba Days treat you to a gift experience.

And for those of you who are so practical that you’d rather put that money to the hydro bill than treating yourself, your friends can get you a Samba Days gift experience for Christmas, forcing you to put yourself before the electricity. 

As a Sambassador, I’ve been afforded opportunities to do lots of cool things. Among some of the fun times I’ve had, I went tubing and ziplining, been pampered with spa treatments, learned to create espresso foam art like an aspiring barista, and had the opportunity to DJ wiki-wiki-wiki style, alongside my husband OCD-J.

And my latest addition to this list: date night at TAPPO Wine Bar and Restaurant in Toronto’s trendy Distillery District. 
From our first steps into the Distillery, it felt like we had walked onto a lavish backlot of a Hollywood movie. Old stone and wood buildings surrounded the cobblestone path, with white lights strewn above our heads in web-like patterns. 

That's not all. Add in the carousel, the Ferris wheel, and bunch of extras not even phased by the zero degree night, then lay a spirited music track over it, and you’ve got a romantic comedy starring Launy and Dahlia AKA Chico and Sweetness. (With the two of us, emphasis on the comedy part, which I in fact find quite romantic).

You know what else is romantic? Eating. And by that I mean it’s a romance between my food and me. I love food. (So much so that I've worked hard to turn unhealthy superduperlicious recipes into healthy superduperlicious recipes.)

So, we enter TAPPO and we discover what feels like an old winery in Tuscany that has adjusted to the 21st century.

Stone, cave-like walls, dark wood, white tablecloths, warm glowing lights … With ambience like this, tasty food becomes even tastier. (And good-looking company becomes even good-looking-er. Low lights are everybody’s friends.)

Now, as a vegetarian, I’ve had every restaurant’s typical salad, grilled or otherwise, and I’ve also had every restaurant’s typical pasta and red sauce or pasta and vegetables dish. Yawn.

TAPPO takes typical and de-typifies it (and I don’t use alliteration lightly).

The posh spot is known for its wine selection, while I’m known for just selecting sweet wines. So I ordered the sweetest rosé on the menu and we were off …

My antipasto: Insalata di zucchini alla griglia ($16)

This is grilled zucchini (almost shaved), basil, sweet cherry tomatoes, with real-deal buffalo mozzarella (so real-deal you want to say it with an Italian accent: booffaloh mozzarella) … BUT, the dealbreaker, a preserved lemon chili dressing. 

The first few ingredients may not seem so different from other grilled veg salads, but the dressing is what takes this dish to another level – that level where you want to demand more. 

The lemon chili preserve atop the three clouds of booffaloh mozzarella is somewhat reminiscent of a savoury lemon meringue pie. The brightness of the lemon sparkles in your mouth, while the chili subtly hits in the background to awaken your palette. And you actually taste the vegetables in a whole new way. Brilliant.

His antipasto (also vegetarian-friendly, but meat-eater approved): Arrancini ai funghi ($13)

A trio of fried mushroom and truffle risotto balls in an herbed panko crust, sitting atop a dip-worthy portion of tomato sauce and fresh herbs. But after the word “truffle” were any other words even necessary? Enough said.

My primo piatto: Ravioli ai fughi di bosco ($24)

I was hesitant to order this dish with wild mushroom ravioli and sundried tomatoes in a creamy Parmigiano sauce, because it sounded too rich for my oxygen rich runner’s blood. So, in ordering it I resolved to wipe away the excess sauce, but there was no excess. Each perfectly al dente raviolo was delicately coated in the cheesy cream. 

Though the dish was rich, it was concentrated – like me – so you can enjoy the moderate splurge. (And I must confess, there was a little sauce left in the end – well actually there wasn’t after I got through with it.) 

His secondo piatto: Filetto di manzo alla griglia ($38)

As a vegetarian, I must use my omnivore counterpart’s words to describe his pan seared and peppercorn encrusted beef tenderloin. (Although his herbed mashed potatoes and fine green beans with Gorgonzola cream looked good to me.) So, in his words:

“__________  __________ _____________.  _____________ _________ __________ ___ _ _________.”

That’s right. The man who never stops talking stopped talking. He just ate.

After which, he explained the mashed potatoes had lovely bits of homestyle potato chunks, the greens beans were crisp and unduly flavourful for green beans, and the steak was cooked perfectly to order, while the peppercorn sauce was lightly spiced, but done just right. His only complaint was that he would’ve loved to have more peppercorn sauce on the plate – or in a large glass.

Dessert: Tiramisu

If you decide to share the tiramisu, don’t. Don’t share it that is. 

Yes, it is a cliché dessert to order at an Italian restaurant. But the indulgence was not cliché at all. Thankfully, I managed to steal most of the berries, including the gooseberry for the win. (Never ignore the fruit when it comes with dessert. That’s criminal. The only exception is if I’m with you. Then, you should give me all the fruit that comes with it.)

The coffee flavour shone through each bite of the tiramisu, but never overwhelmed it. And though it is deceptively light and silky, you know the mascarpone is indubitably decadent, but ultimately that’s okay, because it is calorie-free.

In reality, the whole night was calorie-free – all special occasions are, right?

All in all, TAPPO is an ambient-rich restaurant, with gracious servers and speedy service. But reservations are a must. Though people wanted in so bad, all agreed to the hour and a half wait. 

Also it is especially great for dates. (And just because you’re married, it doesn’t mean you stop dating, you just stop dating other people, save your spouse.)

With delightful dishes, and real flowers on the table, the wine bar and restaurant sets itself apart from the norm, offering something for everyone from omnivores to fussy vegetarian cookbook writers. And it’s an ideal gift for those who don’t offer enough to themselves.

So go for it. It’s time to indulge. Do it. Try it. And get your own tiramisu.

(See all our TAPPO date night pictures here.)

<![CDATA[Putting it all on the table: Revealing my dirty little secret]]>Sun, 30 Oct 2011 16:54:32 GMThttp://www.dahliakurtz.com/blog/putting-it-all-on-the-table-i-finally-reveal-my-dirty-little-secretPicture
Look closely at this picture to the left. What do you see? No, not the half-naked girl. Look again. Bottom right corner. You see a glimpse of me revealing my dirty little secret to Canada and the world - in the table of contents previewing a double-page spread. 

After the jump, check out my story in Sportsnet Magazine, Canada's leading all-sports glossy, as I pioneer two things: 

1. A new sport for sports magazines.

2. A photo shoot for a 5-foot-nothin' non-celebrity.

Click to expand.
Fact: Most of my power comes from my hair.
<![CDATA[Zip it. Zip it good.]]>Mon, 03 Oct 2011 18:21:42 GMThttp://www.dahliakurtz.com/blog/zip-it-zip-it-good*Sponsored Post*
I am afraid of everything. But, I am not afraid to do anything.

It’s funny, when Samba Days gave me the opportunity to select from its seemingly endless list of gift experiences, rather than choose from categories such as Wine, Gourmet, Getaway, Body and Soul, or Life and Culture, I found myself choosing from Explore and Adventure.

Yes, I passed up the opportunity for delightful spa treatments and tasty pampering experiences to harness myself to a cable 35 feet above the hard, rocky ground, and wear (an impressively disinfected) helmet that may not have been conducive to maintaining my hairstyle, but was beneficial in making me feel like a stunt-double in a Michael Bay movie.

I went ziplining.

Ziplining is not one of those things I’ve always wanted to, or at least I never realized it was.
Ready for the set! Er, I mean ziplining.
To soar across an open landscape at 45 kmh is something I often tried to do as a kid. Jumping off the rocking chair was the closest I ever got however.

And for that millisecond, I did fly. Of course, my imagination made that instant feel like an eon.

But on this day, I didn’t need my imagination; I just needed courage.

You see, I have been known to do crazy adventurous things...

But to accomplish feared feats does not make one fearless.

Some years ago, I was “Danger Girl,” a radio personality who started out broadcasting while submerged in a tank of water – for 48 hours – to raise money for sick kids.

I got the gig on the premise that I wasn’t afraid of anything. But, like I’ve told you, I’m afraid of everything. Especially water.
Stairway to Scull Fractures
The instinctive response to fear is to walk away, but sometimes the logical response to fear is to face it. From far away it can seem much bigger than it actually is, and the closer you get the smaller it can become.

Two years ago, a lady in an SUV ran a red light and ran into my car and me – perhaps the worst and best thing that ever happened to me.

Suddenly, I realized I was not invincible. I have an expiry date. So, I want to take full advantage of the life I have and live it. Live big. (Though some may argue that my hair has always lived big.)

If 35 feet isn't high, try jumping off a 3.5 foot table.
Now, standing on a staircase, made up of four steps, with 35 feet of air under it, with rocks and the hard ground under that, and a skull fracture and broken bones atop that, I look out at the 1000 feet of cable that runs from the top of the hill to the bottom, and realize something:

Four-year-olds have done this. In fact, a four-year-old is about to take to another zipline beside me.

And I’m off.

At around 45 kmh the flight is way faster than the ones I took from the rocking chair as a kid.

About 20-something seconds later, I’ve made my way down the hill, and a spring abruptly stops me. In an act of fury, perhaps determined to protect my head on its own, my hair throws my helmet off, and my head does hit the cable once stopped. And within that split second, the spring launches me forward.

Even without my helmet, I’ve managed to maintain Chicopee Tube Park’s “flawless” safety record.

And it’s back up the hill to fly again four more times.

Admittedly, if you have neck problems from, say, a car accident, the spring “landing” can feel a bit harsh, but if you’ve been in a car accident the overall experience of the adventure may make it worth it.

And a harness that adds a little J.Lo to your assets definitely makes it worth it.

Tubin' with my husband's feet (and my husband).
After the ziplining, tubing serves almost as a digestif. On the same hill are two tubing courses made of some sort of slippery plastic: One windy, and one speedy.

Get comfy in your tube and slide right down with virtually zero element of fear, and without having to brave elements below zero.

Like sledding without snow, it’s perfect for a Canadian like me who hates winter.

(Hmm… am I still allowed to call myself Canadian?)

Just hangin' around.
So there you have it. My first adventure as a Sambassador...

And I lived – big – to tell about it.

If you want to check out my complete zipline photo album, with perhaps some photos of me making a fool of myself, zip on over here.

And for my tubular escapades, check out these pics.

<![CDATA[Six simple guidelines to win my vote ]]>Tue, 20 Sep 2011 00:14:12 GMThttp://www.dahliakurtz.com/blog/six-simple-guidelines-to-win-my-vote1Picture
Now, I have established a reputation as one who fights for her right not to vote, because regardless who wins most elections, I will be unhappy with the outcome.

It’s like asking me if I want pork or chicken for supper. I am vegetarian. I choose neither. And with all the pigs and chickens on our election ballots, there is no point for me to vote.

Quite frankly, though the mainstream parties in Canada run the left-centre-right gamut, they are each just slight variations of the other.

The NDP is as left-wing as a chicken with one wing (a right one), the Conservatives are as right-wing as the Liberals when catering to the popular vote, while the Liberals are quite liberal with their ineptness.

But, come the next Election Day, I could make an exception, should the powers-that-want-to-be adhere to my following six guidelines.

How to get me to vote for you:
1.    Stop with the mudslinging campaigns and commercials. Shoot a commercial on a basic camera and have your leader recite these words: “Rather than make pointless, mudslinging commercials that serve only to take jabs at our opponents, because we have nothing truly good to promote about ourselves, we have decided to donate our entire campaign budget to [insert name of *cause or charity here].”

*Note: You are not considered a cause.

2.    Admit that today’s promises are tomorrow’s lies, and refrain from making ANY promises whatsoever.

3.    Tell us that you plan to cut spending on important social services, increase taxes for the poor, increase corporate welfare, and accommodate lobbyists, such as pharmaceuticals. For instance, explain to us that in order to live, many cancer patients, will continue to be forced to pay thousands and thousands of dollars for medications worth pennies on the dollar...

(Trust me, it makes me angry to hear these things, but it makes me even angrier when you lie about it.)

4.    If you do not agree with the party in power, do not force an election, setting off four elections within seven years, while citing this as a profound need for democracy. Democracy is a government fueled by its people. Canada’s people have overwhelmingly stated they don’t want another election.

5.    Don’t try to justify any cuts you plan to make by telling us that it is a small price to pay to save the poor or the middle class. Never has. Never will. You all waste our money. All of you.

6.    Don’t wax poetic about another politician’s contempt. Contempt is an open disrespect for a person or an idea. All of you openly disrespect Canada’s persons and ideas daily. So shut your lie-holes.

And there you have it!

I’m not asking for much. I’m not asking you to change your self-serving ideologies or manage any budgets in a socially responsible way. I’m not even asking that you focus on the economy, education, homelessness, or even putting the care back in healthcare (I’ve already given up on the universal part).

Just please, NO PROMISES. 

All I ask is that you tell me all those things that I don’t want to hear, and that you go ahead and do (and not do) all those things that have zero benefit and/or potential harm for the majority of citizens and residents.

Seriously, these guidelines are so easy that all politicians should be able to do them, as long as you don’t make them count them out on their fingers. Six is a very high number after all, and they need that second hand to hold up to the wind.