My favourite things of the year:

It's the season for year-end lists. And as I'm too busy/not motivated enough to write something more original, I will simply detail my favourite things of the year. Enjoy. 

CITY: Seoul
I travelled to Korea last Spring, somewhat on a whim, after becoming fascinated with the culture. I didn't know what to expect upon arrival though. Certainly I didn't anticipate falling as deeply in love with its capital as I did. At this time, Seoul doesn't seem to be on a lot of traveller's radars but it should be: in my opinion, it is the most fascinating place in Asia offering a mix of history, both past and modern, technology, trend, and nature that is unrivalled on earth. To view a gallery of images of Korea, click here

Because, Paris. 


BOOK: Nothing to Envy, Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
The author focused less on politics and the autocratic regime, and more on the everyday lives of average North Korean citizens crafting a tale that is universally relatable in its yearning for love and freedom. 'Nothing to Envy' remains one of the best books I've ever read. 

RUNNER UP: The Man Without a Face by Masha Gessen
I still can't believe Vladimir Putin's life isn't a work of fiction. 


ALBUM: Beauty Behind the Madness, The Weeknd
His lyrics are questionable but I can't get enough of The Weeknd's voice (or this awesome bass line): 

RUNNER UP: '1989', Taylor Swift
'Style' is the perfect pop song. 


FACE: Paul Maurice
A friend has gotten me hooked on watching Winnipeg Jets games. I admit that half of my fandom has to do with hometown pride and the other half has to do with watching head coach Paul Maurice's face from the sidelines. I don't think I've ever seen him smile. 

RUNNER UP: I may be a bit biased. 


I recall reading somewhere that Canadians deploy the "poo" emoji more than any other nation on earth. I'm not sure why that is. I certainly went through a phase with it. But the emoji I most often use mirrors the way I'm feeling. Perhaps this is why I'm so fascinated with Paul Maurice.  





News Story: #WHOOPS
A lot of bad news comes out of Winnipeg. An invisible darkness seems to permeate the city, resulting in crimes so brutal that the rest of the country is left in shock while citizens, used to (and perhaps, at times, numb to) the headlines, continue to treat their reality as routine. I chose #WHOOPS as my news story of the year because it countered this. It was a tale so completely ridiculous – and hilarious – that even thinking about it now causes me to break out in laughter.

#WHOOPS, the perfectly astute hashtag used to document the event as it unfolded, is about three City of Winnipeg police officers discussing the pitfalls of oral sex with someone who is, uh … er, not that familiar with waxing. While this would normally be a private conversation, it was broadcast to half the city when someone in the WPS Air 1 helicopter accidentally hit the loudspeaker transmitting it to everyone down below.

I'm not sure what type of disciplinary action – if any – was used. But I think the sheer embarrassment of being involved, and the international headlines and fodder that followed, is punishment enough. 

RUNNER UP: Syrian refugees
On a more serious note, I'm proud to see Canada open its doors to people who truly need help and hope. 


MOMENT: July 13

RUNNER UP: October 16

Featured Work

Very proud to have a project I collaborated on with a colleague featured as a successful case study in a newly released post-secondary textbook. Public Relations Writing: Strategies and Structure by Doug Newsom and Jim Haynes teaches the essentials of writing with understanding and purpose. The textbook is being used by over 100 colleges and has been translated into several languages. 

The 11th edition of this educational tome will be released in January of 2016. 


2007. Me and a panda chillin' at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Sichuan, China: 

To view more photos of China, visit my gallery here.

Thirty Something Vignette: no.6

It was a Sunday night. They sipped cabernet while music provided soundtrack softly in the background. The conversation flowed from such weighty topics as the terror attacks in Paris to the economic downturn and how local industry needed to diversify. There was one subject she wanted to broach … one that she desperately needed consensus for but could be perceived as controversial. She waited until the timing was just right (not-coincidentally aligning with the initial buzz of inebriation): 

"Do you think Drake is hot?" she asked her friend. 

"Pfft. Of course he's hot. What kind of question is that?"

She explained her confusion and the debate she had entered into a few days prior. She always considered herself to have impeccable taste and standards. The judgement against this was enlightening, but, alas, proved premature. 

"You know, I have an acquaintance that looks just like Drake." her friend stated. 


Sunday afternoons are occasionally good for an impromptu photoshoot. The subject for this week was my beautiful friend Carol. To view more portraits, click here

©Deborah Clague

©Deborah Clague


I have no idea what year this photo was taken. Nor do I have any clue regarding the location, but it looks pretty interesting. Perhaps I'm standing on an open-air medieval torture chamber. Who knows? I'm just enjoying me mom's company: 

Four Eyes

Adolescence is a difficult era. Surviving puberty, attending the hell that is high school, and being at the continuous mercy of those with less acne than you (when that is seemingly the only currency that matters) is one of the more challenging periods in life. On top of this stress and Clearasil, I was all-too-aware that my vision was slipping. 

Despite the greatest of efforts to achieve invisibility by sinking into my chair while conspicuously avoiding eye-contact with my teachers, I recollect the feeling of overwhelming dread that rushed over me every time I was called upon to read something written on the blackboard. My desk was near the front of the room, yet I couldn't do it. Everything was a blur. I would always feebly state I had a sore throat and couldn't speak because at the age of thirteen it was preferable to be thought of as illiterate rather than a spectacled nerd. My teacher, bless him, allowed me to maintain this ruse for a bit until I couldn't hide any longer. Eye exams were to take place at my high school. All students had to participate. 

The day of the eye exam, I was paired with one of my best friends. He went first and damn near aced it. Envy was second only to anxiety at that moment. For when it was my turn, I just randomly called out letters and numbers that I felt best matched the rorschach test laid out in front of me. "You didn't get a single one right!" mocked my friend upon completion. I was handed a note to take home to my parents informing them that I desperately needed glasses. 

I wore them for a few years but the stigma weighed on me. Guys don't make passes on girls that wear glasses. I didn't feel attractive. I didn't feel cool (one cannot underestimate how important this is when you are a teenager). I switched to contacts. Coloured contacts. My eyes became the most brilliant, unnatural hue of green I'd ever seen. And people noticed. Guys noticed! As silly as it sounds, I started to develop a complex that I would never be good enough unless I was faking it. I blame this lack of self-esteem primarily on society's conditioning towards females. … but that's a journal entry for another time. My feelings were confirmed by a boyfriend who, once he saw me without my emerald orbs, reacted with a disappointed "oh, you look different". 

I wear glasses as an adult not because I've completely outgrown vanity. Lord, no. I'm terrible. It's because the fear of being rejected by my peers based upon appearance has been overshadowed by my phobia of having something poke at and permanently damage my eyes further. Glasses make great shields! And I suppose the confidence one gains as they enter adulthood and start living for themselves rather than others may have something to do with it as well. 

Plus, in my occupation, black thick frames are practically standard-issue. Looking like a nerd has never been cooler. 

Thirty Something Vignette: no.5

"Do you think he's handsome?"


"Really?!?" the boyfriend's face wrinkled in disgust while remaining somehow oblivious to the fact that her apparently questionable taste in men may be reflective of him as well. 

"Swagger goes a long way." she replied. 

The boyfriend let out an audible gasp of judgement. "I can tell by his face that he is a crap guy. He's a player."

"I'm aware of that." she smirked. 

As the debate over whether Drake was hot or not continued, the music video detailing a booty-call gone sour played as soundtrack in the background of their lazy Sunday afternoon, defining this epoch of modern dating. 

Viva La Winnipeg!

My hometown, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, was recently included as one of twenty destinations on National Geographic's list of Best Trips to take in 2016. Dubbed the "little spark on the prairie", it's well worth adding to your bucket list … as a summer excursion though. 

©Deborah Clague/

©Deborah Clague/

To view more pictures of Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba, click here