Founder of Two For The Bar
Talia is the sort of person you sit down, start talking with, and immediately lose track of time. A kind soul, and delightful conversationalist, Talia is the founder of Two for the Bar, a cocktail and bartending blog where she writes about her forays into the Vancouver, BC cocktail scene. Sit down, and enjoy
What do you do?
It's weird to have the tables turned on me. Right now, I'm doing three separate things, my traditional 9-5 is working as a social worker in mental health and addictions. My evening job is, I am a cocktail writer and photographer, freelance writer and photographer. On the weekend's I'm a wedding photographer. That's me in my own words, the most simple terms.
"I like being a little bit of afraid of doing something and figuring it out anyways."
Why do you do what you do?
That's a good question. Social work is something that I came by naturally, because my family has mostly worked in mental health in some capacity. The cocktail blog was born out of my move to Vancouver and really feeling like I didn't have a place in this city. I felt like I had a really hard time making friends, I felt like I had a really hard time connecting with the city in a way that was meaningful for me. So, about 6 months after I moved here I started talking to Blair (her husband) about leaving, and where we might go, and we went out on a Sunday night to go and grab dessert and start developing an exit strategy. We just so happened to land at one of the best bars in the city, and we didn't know it, and we were sitting in front of one of the best bartenders in the city, and we didn't know it. As we were scarfing down some sort of chocolate cake and kind of talking to the bartender, and talking with each other, we end up sampling all these cocktails while we were there. I'm not a big drinker, but as I tasted these, and saw him working, my mind was completely blown. I always say that Montreal taught me how to eat, but Vancouver taught me how to drink, and it taught me how to drink well. It started that night, and that was the way I started to connect with the city - sitting at bars, and learning about cocktails, and learning about bartending. It developed into a passion, and writing about was the way I got to connect to the city and find my place here.
What are you passionate about?
I'm passionate about eating well, drinking well, I'm passionate about people that I care about. I'm passionate about sunshine, and the ocean. I'm passionate about reading, downtime, and I'm passionate about my husband, and about learning. I feel like part of the reason I'm doing as many different things as I can right now is because I like being challenged, I like being a little bit of afraid of doing something and figuring it out anyways.
What's the most helpful piece of advice someone has given you?
Probably my Mum, her advice is always: "Always give yourself enough room to make a second choice". So never feel like you're tied into one specific decision, and always re-evaluating how your choices are working for you, and giving yourself enough space to choose differently if it's not. That's advice I live by on a daily basis.
Are there challenges you've faced specifically because you're a woman, and if so, how did you overcome them?
I mean, I think a lot of the challenges I have faced as a woman are personal in some ways. The thing about my day job, is that it's such a female dominated profession (typically), and so a lot of what I end up facing in a woman in a caring profession is burnout. Which is both an external and internal problem, and it's something I'm constantly trying to work on, and constantly trying to figure out to manage and how to find balance. I think that finding balance is something that I find really difficult as a woman, and I'm sure that men experience it as well, but, again, working in a caring profession is my day job, and it presents unique challenges.
In the blogging world, I don't feel like I've faced much, but it's interesting because when you're writing about cocktails and bartending culture, there's a lot of issues in terms of women in the hospitality and bartending industries, for example wage discrepancies. I feel like I observe a number of the issues, and I'm keenly aware of a lot of issues that women I respect face when they're working. As a blogger though, I'm one step removed. I don't personally have to face the issues that female bartender's face. I don't have to personally face the wage discrepancies female servers face. Its' something more observed than it is personally experienced.
Who are some women who inspire you?
My mother is a constant source of inspiration, and she's my editor, so props to Mum. My sister who has always been the artist in the family, and who has taught me a lot about the very unique struggles you face when you're working as an artist. A lot of women bartenders that I've had the pleasure of working with Beckaly Franks, who used to work in Portland and who is now running her own bar program in Hong Kong. Sabrine Dhaliwal who runs Uva here (Vancouver). Katie Ingram, who works at L’Abattoir. Kaitlyn Stewart who is Canadian bartender of the year through Diageo world class. They all take their work, but not themselves too seriously. They see the fun in what they do, and they're incredible hosts, incredible craftswoman. Their creativity is constantly inspiring to me. Some of the women I have worked with in social work, who I went to school with, like Kara Fletcher, who is a dear friend. My girlfriends who are mothers, who work tirelessly, my girlfriends here who aren't mothers who work tirelessly. I feel like most of the women in my life who are inspirations are people I know personally. Who I am constantly inspired by their own passions, and the way their approach life.
What is your advice for and women?
That's tough. I mean, do what you love, know yourself well, let go of other people's expectations of who you should be, and take on your own expectations of who you should be. Try on feminism, even if you don't identify as a feminist, just try it. If you like it, keep it on as your armour. Be kind, especially to each other, and f*ck the patriarchy.
Any last thoughts?
Food and drink forever. I'm really proud of the women I know, and the work they do, the different avenues they do them, and the passion and love that they bring, and the type of change they want to manifest in this world. SO, I think I'd just like to give a shout out to them. To just say, thank you for being a constant source of inspiration for me, and for working so hard to address the f*ckedupness of this world, and make it better. Not just for ourselves, but for all the people we care about in life.
A woman of many talents, and wearer of many hats. Talia is the Vancouver based, founder of Two for the Bar, a cocktail and bartending blog. In addition is a writer, photographer, social worker, and Certified Spirit Specialist. You can follow along with her adventures: Facebook - Instagram - Twitter - Website