Category Archives: Lists + Awards + Profiles

some lists, interviews and riffs, from sundry media sources about: tourism, social marketing, renegade documenting and outsider art-making

Meet our Board of Advisors for 2012-2013! via VIAwesome

They are, from left to right:
Katie Jeanes – Founder, ALittleMoreGood.com
Mark Brand – CEO, Save On Meats / Mark Brand Inc
Maggie Langrick – Arts and Life Editor, Vancouver Sun
Michael Christie – 2011 Vancouver Book Award-winning author, MichaelChristie.net
Lesli Boldt – President, Boldt Communications
Peter Ladner – Author / Former Vancouver City Councillor, PeterLadner.ca
Jason Donaldson – Director, Gulf Islands School of Performing Arts
Amanda Gibbs – Principal, Public Assembly
Justin Young – Creative Director, Village & Company
Rebecca Bollwitt – Owner, Miss604.com and sixty4media
Michael Eckford – TV and Radio personality, Urban Rush and Rock 101
Roberta LaQuaglia – Operations Manager, Vancouver Farmers Markets
Margot White – Former Vice President, Weber Shandwick
Steven Cox – Principal, Cause and Affect
Meriko Kubota – Grants/Community Initiatives Manager, Vancouver Foundation
Graeme Berglund – Founder/Creative Director, The Cheaper Show
Rachel Thexton – Partner, Dunn PR
Josh Dunford – Founder, Burnkit Creative
Michael Green – Principal, Michael Green Architecture
Anthony Nicalo – President, Foodtree
Dave Olson – VP Community, Hootsuite
Jesse Keefer – Owner, Bodega Ridge Resort
Steve Rio – President, Briteweb
Erin Ireland – Founder, To Die For Banana Bread
Todd Falkowsky – Founder, The Canadian Design Resource
Leanna Crawford – Co-creative Director, Company Policy
Mark Busse – Partner, Industrial Brand
Yuriko Iga – Founder, Blim
Brian Riddell – CEO, Pacific Salmon Foundation
Michael Tippett – CEO & Co-Founder, Ayoudo.com
Karen Pinchin – Co-founder, Rain City Chronicles
Scott Hawthorn – Co-owner, Salt Tasting Room & Native Shoes
Lana Gay – Host and Journalist, CBC Music
Gregory Hegger – Director of Communications and Partnerships, brandLIVE
Amanda McCuaig – Marketing Officer, Museum Of Vancouver
Steve Pratt – Director of Digital Music & CBC Radio 3, CBC Music

Curated tours app Urbandig in Vancouver Sun – Featuring me and beer

I made a tour for a startup app called Urbandig which shares “locals” tours of special interests in various cities. This article by Gillian Shaw at Vancouver Sun shares the story with some blurbage on my Gastown Beer Tour contribution.

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Vancouver startup firm puts a new twist on travel apps

Urbandig is like having a best friend who can show you all the cool spots

By GILLIAN SHAW, Vancouver Sun October 19, 2011

VANCOUVER – What do the digerati do when they’re sitting around wondering how they can discover the really cool spots in town that only the locals know about?

Why, they make an app for it, of course.

That’s just what happened last spring in Los Angeles, when a group of Vancouver new-media types were chatting with friends there about the difficulty of finding those out-of-the-way places that may not even rate a mention in the travel guides.

{snip}

Dave Olson, marketing director for Vancouver’s HootSuite, was the first curator in Vancouver, where he writes under the name of his personal blog, uncleweed.

Olson is “incredibly busy” with the fast-growing HootSuite, creator of the popular social-media dashboard, said Rodgers, but like others involved in the project, he made time to share his passion for a subject dear to his heart — or his tastebuds — craft beer.

“He is a good friend of mine and I know he’s constantly logging the beers he tries on a site called Untappd,” said Rodgers. “We wanted it to be content from subject-matter experts. When you open up the app and Dave Olson tells you to go to Six Acres and try the Raven Cream Ale, you know that you can trust Dave is going to guide you to the right place.”

{more about my pal Mikala}

Mikala Taylor, creator of the popular music website Backstage Rider, is another Urbandig curator. “I cranked out a tour based on some of the places I seem to live in, which are really all the music venues in Vancouver,” she said. “Rather than just say ‘Here are some great music venues,’ I flipped it on its head and aligned it with the stuff I like to do, which is hang out with bands.”

And so you’ll find Taylor’s tour includes tips on the best places to stand if you want to meet the band, where the tour buses are parked, the backstage area and other insider tidbits.

“I remember when I first moved here there was a book, eat.shop vancouver, which had really interesting takes on some of the cooler places in the city,” said Taylor. “Not so much like a Lonely Planet or Time Out guide; it seemed to be more in the trenches.

“To me, Urbandig seems like an app version of that book. If you really drill in there are some really cool tips from the experts, people who really know something about what they’re writing about.”

Source: Vancouver startup Urbandig wanders off the beaten path with its new travel app

Fave books list from “Read all Over” in Vancouver is Awesome

Book shelf

Background: They say, “Read All Over (as in read all over town or the literary pun joke, what’s black and white and re(a)d all over… ) is about celebrating the booknerd in all of us, highlighting book lovers in Vancouver and is published in Vancouver is Awesome.” Indeed, my contributions were included in the series and archived here for convenience.

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Read All Over celebrates the bookworm in all of us, showcasing readers in Vancouver and the books they love most.

Poet, podcaster, pundit and chronic documentarian from his earliest days, Dave Thorvald Olson spends his time writing, painting and listening to vinyl albums on the back porch while gazing at Lynn Valley’s mountains and trees. He’s traveled to 25+ countries working very odd jobs including mushroom farmer, grape picker, college librarian, submarine tour guide, beach club host and now, dot-com community wrangler. He enjoys hot springs, counter-culture, collecting ephemera and swilling microbrews. You many have caught his stories at SXSW, Northern Voice, TEDx, or Pecha Kucha.  Literature fans will enjoy his spoken word podcast series calledPostcards from Gravelly Beach.

Photo courtesy of Dave Thorvald Olson

How do you like your books served up best – audio books, graphic novels, used paperbacks, library loaner, e-reader…

I especially like tracking down hardback vintage editions of my favourites and set them on the top shelf of my case alongside dog-eared paperback versions. Example: a rare Catcher in the Rye with photo of Salinger; an unedited version of Kerouac’s On the Road scroll; andDr. Zhivago in Russian (just for fun). While I usually travel with paperbacks, I hauled a massive edition of War and Peace to Belize just to enjoy it more on the porch. I also buy lots of library cast-offs. Never tried an audio book, or an e-book for that matter.

The one book you always recommend is…

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke – elegant soliloquies, devoid of pretension, about pulling the best out of oneself – particularly when writing.

What books have changed your life?

Walden/Civil Disobedience – Thoreau showed me that words are the source of public and private revolutions rather than violence.

The Catcher in the Rye – Salinger’s renegade first-person, colloquial narrative is nuanced & powerful and still underestimated in ability to transform.

Dharma Bums – Kerouac’s chops & sincerity shine through in this earnest story which coaxed millions to put their boots on!

The Backcountry – Following Gary Snyder’s steps in a Kyoto train station shaped my journey and trueself while heading into the Japanese hills.

Desert Solitaire – Crusty Ed Abbey’s seasonal treatise is both elegant and bombastic plus ecologically important for the past & future.

War and Peace – Satisfyingly critical life lessons tangled within Tolstoy’s epic cast of thousands in a revolutionary soap opera of class & honesty.

Bonus: Siddaharta by Herman Hesse; Rommel Drives Deep into Egypt by Richard Brautigan; Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce; Post Office by Charles Bukowski; Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis; and, Walking Up and Down in the Worldby Smoke Blanchard.

Where is your favorite place to crack open a good book in Vancouver?

On a Crab Park bench – glancing up at tugs and freighters – continued on the Seabus as needed.

What book makes you feel like a kid again?

The Adventures of Tintin. I have a complete collection of the stories (including the previously banned “Soviets” and “Congo” escapades) about this renegade Belgian reporter and his eclectic band of co-conspirators.

The story about the creator Hergé is equally compelling as he started the series for a Catholic newspaper and carried on during Nazi occupation.

Your life story is published tomorrow. What’s the title?

Trips to Elsewhere: A Shoebox of Anecdotes and Incidents


Photo courtesy of Dave Thorvald Olson

Featured Vancouverite Sharing Ideas with Travellers – Inside Vancouver

This profile was published in Vancouver Tourism’s Inside Vancouver blog on Dec. 14th ias: This Week’s Featured Vancouverite: Dave Thorvald Olson with photo by Kris Krug

Hometown:

I grew up in Whalley, and now live in Lynn Valley, but have done a lot of worldwide traveling in between.

How long have you been a Vancouverite?
On and off since I was 4 years old, and I’m 40 now.

Occupation:
I’m community and marketing director for HootSuite.com—a social media web tool for Twitter that is used by both Tom Waits and Barack Obama.

Favourite place in the city:
The Varley Trail named after the Group of Seven painter and WW1 battlefield artist Frederick Varley—it’s a short loop through in the rainy woods near my house—you can extend around Rice Lake to see remnants of early logging culture along rushing river dotted with memorials to loved ones.

Best way to spend a Saturday in the city:
Sleep in, then dim sum in Chinatown at New Town or Floata. Find a street festival on Miss604’s blog or in the Georgia Straight, roll there by transit and dig the music and snacks. Seabus to Lonsdale Quay and either pitch and putt golf at Murdo Frazer or Ambleside, or stroll across the Lynn Canyon suspension bridge. Head back by bus through Stanley Park for Kintaro ramen on Denman Street, have a quick nap, regroup at New Amsterdam Cafe, and head to a concert at Rickshaw, Malkin Bowl, or The Railway Club (depending on taste), then meander home smiling for sure.

Favourite Vancouver artist:
Dan Mangan—this singer-songwriter is everything good about Vancouver to me: understated, sincere, charming, and a wee bit scruffy. Catch him on the rise. See also: Geoff Berner and Jeremy Fisher.

Top insider tip for visitors:
Explore Vancouver’s counterculture history including sites where the Grateful Dead played free shows, Tommy Chong met Cheech, and Jimi Hendrix practiced guitar at his Granny’s house, as well as the site of the legendary punk club The Smilin’ Buddha or at the new Empire Field on the site where Beatles and Elvis both played. Oh yeah, the Museum of Vancouver is a hidden gem at Vanier Park.

Tips for Travelling to and around Japan

Q & A Interview for a web mag (reference lost):

-Did you know anybody in Japan when you went?

Nope, didn’t know anyone or speak a word when i arrived. My older brother had lived in Japan and heard from a friend about a mushroom farm looking for a foreign worker. At the time, I was hitchhiking through the southern US after traveling Europe when i called my Mom to check in. She told me about that he’d pay the airfare. So, 2 weeks later i was standing on the side of road with my backpack, late at night with snow up to my knees waiting for a van to pick me up. The next day i started a 6 day a week, 10 hours a day job growing enoki and shiitake mushrooms.

-How did you survive the communication barrier?

First, humility – you have realize you will sound like a child or a caveman saying “I need food” “where is toilet” and basic tasks become tricky and people will try not to snicker

Second, smiling – i had a long hair and big beard and wore worker’s overalls and rubber boots so people didn’t quite know what to make of me in the rural area where i lived so smiling helped ease the surprise and awkwardness

Third – if you learn a dozen “special” words, you can totally act like you know it all ;-) Domo, dozo, so desu ne, so desu ka, hai hai, itsu, doko, suimasen …

-Any tips to people going to Japan?

Be prepared to simultaneously step 100 years into the future and 100 years into the past. Stay away from everything familiar (restaurants, hotels) and embrace the weirdness. Soak in hotsprings, eat octopus, get lost, head into the mountains and stay in a hut with strangers. For me, hitchhiking the country roads was totally safe and fun – folks picked me up and often invited me to their fave restaurant, tourist attraction, house, bar or temple. I stayed almost entirely away from the cities and found countryside somewhat unexpectedly wild and full of old agricultural and spiritual traditions. I also grew to savour the classic and modern literature of Japan – read these rather than guidebooks before going to better appreciate Japan.

Happy birthday Dave O (@uncleweed) via Hummingbird604.com

Happy birthday Dave O (@uncleweed) | Hummingbird604.comAugust 16th, 2010

This past weekend, my good friend Dave Thorvald Olson celebrated the big 4-0 (aka, #UW40). He had (by the looks of the #UW40 Twitter stream that our common friends who attended his birthday party generated), an epic celebration, worthy of a human being of the quality of Dave. When I first entered the Vancouver tech community (in early 2008), I was warmly welcomed by Dave, and he immediately involved me in several projects of his, including my first-ever liveblogging of EPIC (the sustainable expo).

I was really disappointed that having to submit a grant proposal on deadline precluded me from attending his epic 40 year all party, but if what I saw on Twitter, Flickr and Facebook is any indication, DaveO’s #UW41 will be just as or even more epic. He was surrounded by many of his (and my) friends, and missed by many (including myself, but I did celebrate from afar!). Dearest Dave, you know how much I love you and appreciate your friendship. I look forward to sharing a cold beer with you sometime soon and give you a hug in celebration of your birthday.

Much love always,
Raul

Source: Happy birthday Dave O (@uncleweed) | Hummingbird604.com

Let it Rain ~ “Flying High” boardgame-inspired art & interview in DIY Zine

Flying High by Dave Olson – as appeared in RainZine #4

Amongst my recent trips, interviews and publications came a very special treat – a pull-out insert and stream of consciousness interview in RainZine. As a lover of deliberate, tactile arts and crafts and compelling content, RainZine – produced by Carla Bergman and Anita Olson – is an ideal manifestation with photos artfully placed in with black corners, paper matched with content like wine and cheese, even hand-pasted-in CDs for bonus bits which the atoms can’t carry.

In The Resistance Issue! Number 4, I worked with Carla and Anita to create a pullout insert called Flying High – a boardgame-inspired personal art history i glued up from stacks of source materials – each square has a story. They photographed and distributed as a pull out piece along with the interview by Ms. Olson pasted below. The finished piece feels like an old-timey broadsheet which poets, folk singers and activists would share throughout the countryside in olden days – i feel part of that lineage.

The tome, alas, has switched to permanent hiatus mode after 4 splendid issues but no worries, these passionate creators are up to all sorts of other endeavours. In particular, Carla ringleads (is this the correct word?) The Purple Thistle – a program and facility for young artists which needs a spiel of its own to recount the perfect afternoon i enjoyed teaching a group of remarkable youths about podcasting (audio and video to come at some distant point on the horizon).

View from my Seat by Bev Davies (at Northern Voice 2009)

analoggirlheartsyellowpaper

After first meeting Carla and Anita during the “Phone for Fearless” campaign via Raincity Studios, they hopped on board my jalopy train of story and spiels at Northern Voice 09 where they caught my Letters from Russia and Rock N Roll Photography gigs.

We quickly realized all share a love of scissors, glue, tea and laughter as key ingredients to making art. I proudly wear my Rain pin on my coat and am often blamed for heralding precipitation but rather i am an advocate for radical art in nature.

Rain also published a dossier about Letters from Russia in issue 3 where i shared pages with my good pals photographer Kris Krug and painter/designer Jer Crowle. This time the issue is stocked with skill includes poems from C.R. Avery, a mixed media singer/beatboxer/writer who played the release party evoking memories of Tom Waits.

So in tribute and thanks to RainZine, here’s the interview with Anita which i’ll always remember at Arbutus Coffee shop (after forgetting where i’d really booked the meeting), afterwork on a blustery autumn night with warm beverages and a cassette recorder – truly thanks Carla and Anita for bringing the Rain down on me.

three iterations of a dossier
Letters from Russia dossier for RainZine in 3 iterations

Who is this Dave Olson Guy anyway?
by Anita Olson from RainZine Issue #4

Last fall I had the pleasure of chatting with this Dave O guy and was reminded of a sociology paper I wrote about how the Internet fosters multiple selves (not to be confused with multiple personalities, of course). The basic idea is that the self is not a singular but rather made up of a compilation. Sherry Turkle, a big smarty pants at MIT, wrote a book called Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet, discussing how “the Internet has become a significant social laboratory for experimenting with the constructions and reconstructions of self that characterize postmodern life. In its virtual reality, we self-fashion and self-create.”[place number 1 here for footnote] In other words, the computer helps us see the multiple selves we posses and can help foster their development. Sitting with Dave O was like sitting with a Turkle case study.

Dave O is an artist, writer, poet, painter, drawer, collager, podcaster, speaker, hockey fan, tree hugger, pot advocate, hiker, documentarian, blogger, storyteller, office worker, daddy, husband, activist, teacher, do-gooder, and sauna sitter but I reckon that there is probably more in him that I missed. Many know him as the infamous Uncle Weed or simply as Dave O…and of course there’s Dave Olson.

Using the Internet, Dave has created different personas each capturing a certain audience. Whether it’s talking bud with Uncle Weed, rattling hockey stats as Dave O, or reading literary essays by Dave Olson, he has a lot of virtual ground covered. But having an audience is only half the tale; Dave would like “a paycheck to go with it.”

In the two or three hours spent with Dave so many stories flowed that I can only fit a tiny fraction of what was shared that evening. I hope to have highlighted Dave as the artist he truly is. Who better but to have Dave’s own words to describe his artistic process, a new project and how he perceives himself as an artist. The following is an excerpt from an autumn chat between RAIN and Dave O.

What he’s recently been up to…

DAVE O

[I’ve been working on] some recordings I made in 2006 while visiting the Clayquot Sound area. I was at the blockades in 1993 near Tofino. I was a young 20 something year-old and I stood on the blockade lines and watched everyone get arrested…and out there on the blockade lines I learnt a lot of pivotal lessons, and it’s really what got me into hemp and alternative fibers and peaceful activities and bringing people together rather than squabbling. I realized out on the blockade lines, the environmental advocates and the loggers both wanted the same thing. They both wanted the trees, they just wanted them for different reasons. These guys wanted them for jobs so they could buy TVs and RVs and those guys wanted them so they could feel good about breathing air. But we need to find a solution so we can all just get along.

So, over the intervening years I hear all this news that it had been turned into a UNESCO world heritage site and I was like, “we won and we changed the world”. So I pack up the family (in ’06) and it’s going to be great, it’s going to be like eco heaven. But when we got out there it was industrial tourism. Fucking RVs, provocatively named resorts, swimming pools and Jacuzzis everywhere. While we were there, the city of Tofino ran out of water and they packed up and stopped commercial usage. All the hotels had to pack up all the people and send them home. And I just happened to be there. And because I’m the kind of guy that takes a bag full of books with me on vacation and paints, I just used this as a sort of a catalyst to make a huge amount of paintings and my little recordings. The water outage and my whole tension about the area gave a spark to the whole thing. I brought all these files home and I totally stressed myself out on this vacation because I wanted to document all this injustice of the world and then I misplaced the files. [They were] missing for quite some time….on another computer on another thing…anyway I finally found the files and thought, this is what I gotta do; I gotta find how to make these into something.

So over the last month I’ve made them into a nine-part podcast series called “Rain Forest Dispatches.” It’s a combination of me reading essays, me kind of running on spiels, my own personal frustrations with things, then flashing back to the blockades, and then visiting the friends of Clayquot Sound Organization and having some interviewee conversations. I was wondering what to do with them…it’s hard editing your own audio. For one, you sound like a chipmunk and two, it’s like, “shut up, we get it dude”. I needed something to break it up and stretch it out and the stories were all told out of sequence too. It was totally non-linear but then I started to put together a few bits and pieces of music. A young lady named Becks from Vancouver Island made a song called “Lonesome Traveler” and it was…perfect. I made a little introduction with seaplanes and sounds of waves lapping against the shore. And then I found this guy William Whitmore Elliot. It sounds like he’s an old 75 year old man from the delta but he’s this nice young college boy from Iowa, sings these great blues songs. And our pal Geoff Berner in “Light enough to Travel” where he sings about smashing the windows of logging companies just to get a little release and these pieces just came together. Labour Day weekend I locked myself in my studio and just edited audio and I started releasing them. I’ve got five of them out now.

How he describes himself and what he does…

DAVE O

I make mixed media story packs…I’m a story maker rather than a storyteller. To describe what I do, it’s not really performance art and its not really spoken word and it’s certainly not slam poetry. It’s more like I sit around a campfire with a very focused conversation about things because everything I do is very, very deliberate…and my presentations, in order to make it look like I’m making it all up, take a tremendous amount of work.

I’ve made a deliberate point of knowing how to write in every style. Everything from press releases, expository and free prose, and that is what keeps me employed.

I’m a private man and separate my family and day job from the Internet. I only share bits of myself that other people may find compelling in one way or another.

I like sharing stuff…I just don’t like organizing it to share it.

But Dave’s work is organized in the virtual world. He has a wicked website, www.uncleweed.net where there are links to numerous podcasts, blogs, poetry, essays, pictures, films, paintings, a resume and more…a virtual adventure well worth diving into!

*On the front of this lovely little insert is a bit of a timeline Dave whipped up for RAIN titled “Flying High.” It displays his eclectic style and the thoughtful intention he pours in all of his work. Sharing parts of himself, from a scrawny kid, where he’s lived and traveled, paintings, writings and up to what he’s currently been doing covers this aesthetically pleasing and informative piece.

1 Life on the Screen. Simon & Schuster. New York: 1995

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Lip Gloss wins best podcast in Vancouver! 2nd place went to our friend Dave Olson

Lip Gloss wins best podcast in Vancouver! | Lip Gloss and Laptops

Fuck Stats, Make Art, Riffs via Paul Jarvis

A sharp, creative and productive pal called Paul Jarvis named-checked Fuck Stats, Make Art in a blog post he shared with his tribe of creatives. Respectfully shared below for posterity.

Fuck Stats, Make Art

The title of this post is lifted from a talk Dave Olson (aka Uncle Weed) gave in 2009. The statement still resonates, because it succinctly emphasizes what’s important in the writing you do.

Trying to follow a formula, script or tactic to get more traffic, sales or followers never works in the long run because it screams inauthenticity. Your goals and desires echo in everything you do, even if you think they don’t. So if you’re focused on going viral or being popular or selling something, it’ll show. Copying what others did to gain success just makes you sound like an echo instead of a voice.

What makes the content you create awesome is that it’s a story told through your unique lens. It’s you, telling a story. It’s you not giving a fuck about anything but telling that story. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog post about banking software or a video on how to make nut milk, the content will be better if you let your real personality shine.

How to find your unique voice

  • Stop reading blogs.
  • Definitely stop reading popular blogs.
  • Read outside of your niche/area of expertise.
  • Most definitely stop reading blogs about how to have a popular blog.
  • Don’t write to be read. Write to write, explore, experiment, share, express, inspire.
  • Stop looking at your stats, likes, retweets.
  • Write more.
  • Read what you write and ask yourself, “is this how I actually sound when I’m not conscious of how I sound?”.

Source: Fuck Stats, Make Art | Paul Jarvis

Best of Miss 604: And the winner is … via Digital Doodles

Best of Miss 604: And the winner is …

Dec. 12, 2008, Dale McGladdery via Digital Doodles

Rebecca Bollwitt presides over Best of 604
Rebecca Bollwitt MC’s Best of 604 Awards
Photo by penmachine

Who won the podcasting category, you ask? [Insert drum roll] The winner was Lip Gloss and Laptops. After the Credits was a long shot, so no surprise is wasn’t us. I don’t know Kerry Ann but I’ve spoken with Airdrie a couple times. She’s good people and the win is well deserved. And I can’t not mention runner up,Choogle On With Uncle Weed. Dave, a.k.a. Uncle Weed, is a consummate story teller and he does it well.

And a shout-out to Rebecca (Miss 604) for all her hard work and a job well done. Thanks to her, $1800 was raised for the food bank and our little corner of the world had a top-up of cheer and goodwill.

For more on the night, check out:
Rebecca’s wrap-up post: Best of 604: Winners and The Morning After
Flickr Photo Stream: Best Of 604 (including a picture of Marina)
Ianiv’s Video: Best of 604
Marina’s Post: Best of 604 – A Night of Nail Biting (not really) Fun
Raul’s Post: Best of 604 – A Phenomenal Success
Lip Gloss and Laptops Post: Lip Gloss wins best podcast in Vancouver!
Derek’s Post: Congratulations to Lip Gloss and Laptops!
Monica’s Post: Bronze is my Color!
Colleen’s Post: BuzzNetworker Wins People’s Choice Award!!
Tris’ Post: Congrats to all of the winners of The Best of 604
The Well-Tempered Chocolatier’s post: Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Source: Best of Miss 604: And the winner is … | Digital Doodles

dale on December 12, 2008 – 11:15pm