How I’m Beating Seasonal Affective Disorder in the Garbage Year 2016

I want to listen to sad music

The results are in: 2016 is a dumpster fire. Personally and professionally my year has been fine but everytime I check in on current events it seems like the world is going to hell in a child made designer knock-off handbasket. To top it off, here in Vancouver, we’ve just endured nearly two months of rain. Despite living on the wet coast for most of my adult life I can’t deny that I’m a prairie girl at heart; I need that sweet sunshine!

So to fight the downward spiral of Seasonal Affective Disorder that I sometimes experience I’ve dedicated myself to some new routines/ habits/ tactics to pack S.A.D. and everything it owns in a box to the left. Here are five things that I’ve been doing to keep my frown upside down.

One: Log Off

After obsessively clicking on article after article trying to make sense with the world post November 8, aka the day many white people got woke to racism in America, I decided to take a break from The Social Network because it was dragging me down.

I have only enjoyed the world without status updates for a little over a week, but it’s going pretty well. I’m going to check in once a week for the next little while but I’m already convinced it’s improving my mental health.

Since logging off of Facebook I am no longer seeing fake news in my life. I’m going straight to respected news outlets. I am no longer seeing terrible articles by actors I met 8 years ago whom I kept on my friends list in the hopes that one day they’d attend one of my shows. Bonus: I’m also missing out on said actors status updates about the work they’ve booked or how #grateful they are to follow their dreams. Newsflash: I should de-friend some people.

Oh, what’s that you had a baby/ got engaged and I didn’t hear about it? Well… me and Facebook…

Two: Move it, Move it

You know what’s better than sitting on your couch watching Netflix? Getting off of it. I have gone for a walk whenever there is sunshine or break in the downpour. I’ve also made exercise an important part of my daily routine. I go to a horrible chain gym but I love the people watching and I’m trying to get out and dance whenever I can. I have never left the gym or dance floor feeling worse. My spirits are always lifted.

I highly recommend Dance Dance Party Party (Tuesday night @ Mt Pleasant Community Centre 8:15 PM), it’s only $7 to drop in.


Three: Get Cultured

Last week I managed to get to see a play, a sketch show, attend a literary event, and I went to a square dance. AND I pulled this off without Facebook! Do you know how hard it is to find people to hang out with you last minute without that site? I pretty much forgot who I knew in the city. I persevered and scrolled through my phone’s contact list and connected with friends and with culture. My heart was touched and my perspective was lifted above the clouds. Art is going to be what pulls us through these dark days and I’m not just talking about winter.


Four: Chocolate! Coffee!

Get some caffeine in your body! It’s working for me. I usually have coffee between 11:30 AM and 2 PM and chocolate between 5 PM – 8 PM. My body is quite sensitive to stimulants so a little bit at the right time really does the trick. Is there any science behind this? Maybe. I’m sure I could find an article online to support it, but it might be false or heavily biased.  All I can say is that it’s working for me.

Of course, if you don’t like coffee or chocolate you don’t have to consume it, but if you do let me be your enabler … in moderation.


Five: Om

I’ve kept up a daily meditation practice for the last two years. I’m currently on a 170+ day streak. (Pats self on back). Taking just 10-20 minutes a day to focus on my breath and thoughts is like hitting a reset button in my mind. On days when my monkey mind is too chatty I switch to a guided meditation to hold my hand through the experience.

If you’re new to meditation I highly recommend trying apps like Headspace or Insight Timer.


Other things that are working for me: dreaming about swimming in sunny weather and then playing with kittens, hanging out with friends, making sure I get my veggies, journaling, reading books, and trying to not be so hard on myself.

Some other self care I’m planning on doing soon include: a visit to Golden Feet, getting a massage, pretending that I’m in a tropical paradise at Shameful Tiki Room, and dancing at Calabash’s Class of 94 night.

Of course, if you are experiencing prolonged depression and other S.A.D. symptoms, you should go to your doctor. There’s no harm in it.

What do you do? How are you going to get through the gloomy winter this year?


Vote, Baby, Vote

It’s municipal election time in Vancouver! Polls are open early and the last day to vote is November 15.

If Deee lite, one of the best groups of all time, isn’t enough to inspire you to get to the polls, maybe I can help.

I voted today at City Hall, it took all of 15 minutes to go through the line, fill out the long voting ballot and submit my form into the fancy scanning machine. I exercised my democratic rights and you should too!

I know, I know, there are a lot of people to consider this election but here’s what helped me.

Plan Your Vote – blurbs from candidates and a handy tool that will allow you to check of people you’re considering and then email you your list so you can take it to the polls.

* Vancouver School Teachers’ Associations has put their support behind these people for school board. A teacher friend showed me this list and since she’s on the inside I trust her judgement.

Voting is sexy, apathy is repulsive. Remember, there are so many people in this world who don’t have this option.

Vote, baby, vote. #advancedvoting #vanpoli #elections #vancouver

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Toronto Observations – Part 2

I’m still alive in the big smoke! And I’m no longer living with cats!! I’m so excited to not have hair all over my clothing or being woken up by random mewing. Although it was really cute when the scaredy cat finally warmed up to me (before she decided to sleep on my chest every night).

So, what’s been going on?

Well, I was hanging out in Trinity Bellwoods Park, as all semi-employed artists do, and a butterfly landed on me. Then it flew away. Then it flew back and landed on me again. This happened two more times. Basically, it was my longest relationship in years.

Plus, it means good luck, right? Or is that getting pooped on by a bird, because that happened too.

One thing I’ve noticed about Toronto is there are a heck of a lot of psychics with storefront businesses. I haven’t looked into this too much but it’s kinda neat. Mostly in the sense that so many of them can pay their rent. Then again, they could be the Toronto equivalent to Vancouver’s ‘late night massage parlours.’

I was lucky enough to go to a TIFF screening of Boyhood, Richard Linklater’s new film – the guy that did Dazed and Confused and those Ethan Hawk walking around Europe movies. Check out the trailor for it here. It’s a great film. Great meaning I balled my eyes out at the end.

Saw it. It's fantastic.

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Here’s my real observation. Segways are to Toronto what unicycles are to Vancouver. They haunt me and apparently, I’m the only one of my friends here that sees these things all the freakin’ time!

Another day, another #Segway sighting in #Toronto

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Now, how are you doing?

Toronto Observations

I’ve been living in Toronto for a month now and I’ve noticed some things.

Drying your clothes through electrocution seems to be a viable option.

Ummm… Is this safe? #Toronto #power #wires #deathtrap #electricity

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Some people really care about fashion here and some … not so much. These sandals win the award for the ugliest footwear I’ve ever seen.


The streets are dangerous – I was run off the sidewalk by this gang.

But every now and then I’ll see something that reminds me of home. Note the toe shoes.

The worst. Toe shoes + didgeridoo + drum + tie dye. Seen on Bloor and Younge.

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On the upside, I haven’t seen one unicycle.

Hell of a Girl – Jeff Gladstone


Jeff Gladstone is a pretty amazing performer and artist. He’s a fantastic improvisor, a terrific actor, a musician and he’s known for being a bit of a flirt. I’m going to his CD release this Saturday and you should too. It’s going to be the most theatrical CD release you’ve ever been to. Here’s info for ya:

HELL OF A GIRL: The Release

Saturday, April 19th
The Rio Theatre, 1660 East Broadway, Vancouver MAP
Doors: 8:00pm
Show: 8:30pm

In Advance: $17 (includes CD), $12 (ticket only)
At The Door: $20 (includes CD), $15 (ticket only)

Vancouver actor and musician Jeff Gladstone will collaborate with over 30 local musicians, including The Bad Ideas and the Kingsgate Chorus, to bring his debut album ‘Hell Of A Girl’ to life on April 19th at the Rio Theatre.

Described as part Cowboy Opera, part Film Noir, and part Moulin Rouge the production, inspired by the myth of Orpheus & Eurydice, is guaranteed to be the most unique CD release performance of 2014.

“They’re like shaky junkie tunes, like you might leap off the stage and attack us.”
– Al Willows, actor & drummer

The show will feature Todd Biffard on drums (Maria In The Shower), Steve Charles on guitar (Viper Central, Chelsea Hotel), Bonnie Northgraves (Jen Hodge All Stars) and special guests Bruce Horak (Assassinating Thomson), Onalea Gilbertson (One Yellow Rabbit), Kelly Haigh and The Murderbirds, and The Kingsgate Chorus.

‘Hell Of A Girl’, funded in part by a Kickstarter campaign, was written by Jeff Gladstone and produced by Terra Hazelton (Jeff Healey’s Jazz Wizards, FUBAR II). It features some of the most talented musicians in Toronto’s jazz scene including Drew Jurecka, Sophia Perlman, Richard Whiteman, Nathan Hiltz, Sly Juhas, Rachel Pomedli, Tim Hamel, Jay Danley and James Thomson.

Prior to embarking on his musical career Jeff Gladstone was nominated for Jessie Richardson awards for writing and acting and for a Canadian Comedy Award.

more at

PuSh Festival Sunday Roast

Sunday Roast 2

Early this year I was asked by Minna Schendlinger, the Managing Director of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, to MC a roast she was organizing for the 10 year anniversary. I was thrilled to be asked and so very nervous to do it. Those of you who know me, know I’ve worked for the festival for the last 5 years in some facet or another. It’s a festival very dear to me.

The event took place last Sunday, January 19. I had a lot of fun, despite the hours of fretting I put in wondering if I was too mean or not mean enough.

For those of you who are interested here are my script notes for the evening. I’m sure I said things a little differently, but this is the gist.


Hi, I’m Sara Bynoe and I will be your host for this evening’s Sunday Roast. Before I begin I’d like to make one thing clear– No! we will not be serving Yorkshire puddings or roast beef.

A roast is an event, in which an individual (or organization) is subjected to a public presentation of comedic insults, praise, outlandish true and untrue stories, and heartwarming tributes as a mock counter to a toast.

It’s a Sunday Roast because it happens to fall on a Sunday. If you don’t get that cheeky wordplay/joke , we are in big trouble.

This evening we are here celebrate the tenth anniversary of the PuSh festival by taking the piss out of PuSh.

Now many of you might be asking yourself who the fuck am I? Well, I’m here because Charlie Demers was unavailable. Also, because we all know CTV anchors make worst hosts for live events – but they look so darn pretty while they read … from… their … scripts (awkward fake smile).

Seriously, it’s my honour to be your MC this evening. I’ve been involved with the PuSh festival for the last few years. I assisted Theatre Replacement in casting 100% Vancouver or as I liked to call it the search for a 60-year-old unmarried Indian man who and speaks Cantonese and lives in Shaughnessy. I also produced the opening galas in 2012 and 2013 – also known as the fun ones.

Honestly though, as far as PuSh is concerned it’s my job to be the last person on the dance floor of every party. It’s strange, as much as PuSh supports dance, they rarely participate in it. Guys, I’m not getting any younger. It’s time for me to pass the torch! I know, I know, the SFU kids are working on it, but they’re still in “process.”

I think the real reason I’m here is that I’m also a host and comedic performer about town. I am always taking the piss out of things. Screw it, I’m also a shameless promoter so I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about two shows I’ve been running in this city for many years. The first is a confessional comedic storytelling event called Teen Angst Night where adults read from their teenage diaries and the second is my monthly comedy show Say Wha?! Readings of Deliciously Rotten Writing a show where funny people read from the worst books ever published. They’re so edgy Norman Armour has never been to either one.

I’ve been a fan of the PuSh Festival since my formative years, growing up in Calgary when it was the High Performance Rodeo. Congrats to One Yellow Rabbit for celebrating its 28th annual HPR. PuSh is the largest January interdisciplinary international arts festival in Western Canada? You mean, west of the Rockies, right? Because I know at least 1/3 of the programming is shared with the HPR.

Yeah, that’s right. I said it. It’s called the PuSh Festival Roast – We’re going to cross the line tonight.

What is PuSh? Besides a typographic nightmare? –  P for Pretentious, capital S for bullShit.

What if I told you could see grown men get naked and throw their shoes at each other, then fight and get so sweaty that they wipe themselves off with the Dance Centre’s curtains. What if I told you that’s art?

What if I told you would pay $45 to be blindfolded and have a stranger lead you around the city, and get you to molest buildings and bushes?

What if I told you that people actually like to watch modern dance?

What if I told you the most amazing performance piece you’ve ever seen was it town and you MUST GO AND SEE IT – only … it’s sold out.

Would you believe there would be a five minute speech before every show thanking sponsors and donors and then a huge ask for money from an audience full of underpaid unemployed artists.

That’s PuSh.

In the dark, dark, dark, cloudy, grey, depressing, mildewed, leaky condo, bedbug infested pioneer village that pretends to be a world-class city that we live in there is a festival that intrigues the arts community and confuses the hockey-rioting people of Surrey.

PuSh is an opportunity to see Vancouver theatre legends get drunk in this very room.

Ok, enough of me. It’s time for me to hand over the roast.

Look up here – see the few brave souls who are ready to roast our beloved PuSh.

You might be thinking, “Hey! There are only two women on that stage and everyone is white.” Relax, it’s just a representation of this year’s programming.

I love PuSh. Lots of great shows in the next few weeks. Make sure you see something. Seriously, I’m seeing a lot. Just check my Twitter feed or ask me for recommendations.

Sunday Roast