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3 Tips for Small Business Owners

Line 21 has been in business for 20 years now. And, while we’ve had a great deal of fun along the way, we’ve also learned a thing or two about surviving as small business owners.

Below are three very practical lessons we’ve learned (sometimes the hard way).

1. Learn how to have work left over at the end of the day.

It’s tempting to fall into the notion that “you must clear your desk by the end of every day.” Surely it’s a good thing to start each day fresh?

Not always. If you think you always have to finish everything by the end of the day, not only are you setting unrealistic expectations for yourself, but you’re setting up yourself to work ever longer hours. It’s good to know you have work to do tomorrow. In fact, we recommend you have daily, weekly, and even monthly schedules for yourself and learn to stick to them. It’s all about endurance for us.

2. Use others’ expertise.

You got into business because you were passionate about something, be it building birdhouses or resolving tricky accounting problems. But running a successful business requires more than just passion for a specific pursuit. It requires expertise in a wide variety of areas, some of which you will not possess.

That’s okay. It’s not realistic that you’d be a master of every single skill required for running a business. That’s why there are OTHER businesses to help you fill in those gaps. Make use of them! Free yourself from the tasks at which you don’t excel so that you have time to focus on those at which you do. Your business will thank you.

3. Make it easy for people to contact you.

This seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? But you’d be surprised how difficult some people make it to contact them—by phone, email, text, semaphore—there’s just no easy way to find a way to get in touch.

When I have a hard time finding contact information, I wonder—do they really want to hear from me? Is that the message you want to send to your clients?

Put your contact information everywhere and allow for as many forms of contact as possible: in your email signature, on your Facebook page, on LinkedIn, on your Twitter background, your website. Make it easy to find! If you make people work to find you, they just may not make the effort.

This Month’s Mondegreen

We enjoy a good Mondegreen as much as anyone! But you can relax in the confidence that, at Line 21, we work very hard to ensure we never create Mondegreens out of your dialogue.

Partner Profile: DOXA Documentary Film Festival

DOXA is coming! From May 2 through 11 four downtown Vancouver theatres will be overtaken by some of the most interesting, thought-provoking, sometimes funny, and always engaging documentary movies.

From its humble beginnings in 1998, DOXA has grown to a 10-day event featuring 90+ films with an international reach. This Vancouver-based, non-profit, charitable society is an entirely home-grown effort, with a staff of very dedicated employees, supported by a host of volunteers. Over the years, the ambitious festival has grown to become truly mighty, with an impressive Board of Directors, films from internationally recognized talent, an amazing annual line up of innovative films from around the globe, and huge community support.

Line 21 has been a proud DOXA partner for years. Not only do we sponsor screenings, but we’ve hosted receptions, and donated to silent auctions. Patricia Dziekan, who many of you will know from her work as administrator at Line 21, was even a volunteer on the DOXA Fundraising committee for a couple of years.

It’s been an easy, happy match for a couple of very important reasons. First, we applaud and support DOXA’s commitment to bringing first-rate documentaries to a wider audience. And second, we just love the movies! Where else can you be challenged by a look at the destructive forces at work in Eastern Congo’s Virunga National Park (“Virunga”) one night and entertained the next by the ever-delightful George Takei—better known as Star Trek’s Mr. Sulu—in the film “To Be Takei”?

This year, Line 21 is the proud screening partner for “Derby Crazy Love” on Friday, May 9, 9pm at the Rio. It’s a raucous take on the world of women’s roller derby and the tough babes who inhabit it.

Win Tickets to “Derby Crazy Love!”

We’d love for you to join us at “Derby Crazy Love!” To enter to win tickets, tweet “Derby Crazy Love” to @line21cc or comment “Derby Crazy Love” on our Facebook page. We’ll randomly choose a winner and notify you the week of April 28th. Good luck!

Check out the full DOXA schedule.

April’s Recipe: Zucchini Noodles and Carbonara Sauce

Once you’ve tried raw zucchini noodles,
you may never go back!

If you haven’t yet tried raw noodles, you must! They’re easy, fast, convenient, and delicious and they work wonderfully with any sauce. We use a gadget generally known as a spirooli or a spiralizer, like this one or, for a wider, flatter noodle, this one.

One medium zucchini spiralizes (we just made that word up!) into 2 servings of noodles. Just cut the ends off an unpeeled zucchini, run it through the gadget, and divide the noodles into 2 bowls.  This will take you all of about 15 seconds.

For richer, heavier sauces, like our favourite carbonara sauce below, these noodles are a great way to lighten the meal. We’ve adapted the carbonara from a very old (and excellent!) cookbook, Wonderful Ways to Prepare Italian Food by Jo Ann Shirley, 1978.


1/2 onion, chopped
2 T olive oil
1/2 lb bacon, cut into chuncks
2T butter
2 egg yolks
salt and pepper
1/3 c cream
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese


Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion until it becomes transparent. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Melt the butter in the same pan as the bacon fat. Remove from heat. Add the egg yolks to pan and stir, season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cream and parmesan. Add the onion and bacon back to the pan and mix thoroughly.

Serve over your new favourite noodles! This is enough sauce for 4 servings.

7 Film Fests for Spring

In January we set you up with your local film festival viewing schedule, of which there is no shortage in BC. This month, we bring you the next round of festivals on the screen, from April to June. Our work has us up close and personal with movie making, so it goes without saying we’re big fans of films of all kinds. You can count on seeing us at many of these great events in the coming months.

April 4-11
R2R Film Festival
Dedicated to showing the best in culturally diverse, authentic programming for youth. In addition to the April film festival, Reel to Real offers year-round programs for youth.

April 24-27
Projecting Change Film Festival
Where environmentalists, film lovers, community leaders, local businesses and decision makers gather to watch films, discuss key issues and get inspired.

Apr 5-6
Vancouver South African Film Festival
Features and documentaries that explore the culture, history and politics of South Africa.

May 2-11
DOXA Documentary Film Festival
View the best of the new documentaries. DOXA is a curated and juried festival comprised of public screenings, panel discussions, public forums and educational programs.

May 21-22
Canada International Film Festival
This year’s Canada International Film Festival will showcase a wide variety of offerings, from North American and international feature films to thought-provoking shorts, documentaries, music videos, animations, experimental films, student films, a screenplay competition, and more.

Vancouver Festival of Ocean Films
Features local and international filmmakers and presenters in a multimedia event and film competition.

Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival
Taiwanese filmmakers are starting to gain international attention with their high-quality films. Normally difficult to access in Vancouver, the Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival gives locals the opportunity to appreciate these works.

It’s March, which means we’re firmly in shoulder season between winter and spring. The warm afternoon sun entices us to step outside before the chill of the evening sets in. One way we love to take advantage of those afternoon windows of sunshine is by treating ourselves to a little decadent something at one of our favourite local sweet spots.

The Gluten Free Epicurean

Try the salted no-oat chocolate chip cookies – possibly the best cookie you’ve ever eaten!

Aphrodite Cafe

Pie! What more do you need to know? Gluten free/vegan or traditional, by the slice or whole. However you serve it up, it’s delicious!


A great little French bakery cafe right across from the Art Gallery on Hornby.


An authentic French cafe on Alberni Street with excellent coffee and macarons. A simple luxury.

Kokopelli Cafe

Great coffee, yummy treats and a play area for kids so the parents can enjoy said treats.

Beaucoup Bakery

Consistently voted some of the best croissants in the city, Beaucoup’s classic French pastry is indeed a buttery, shattering delicacy. Coffee by Parallel 49 is also good.

This Month’s Mondegreen

Client Profile: NSI

Line 21 is a proud sponsor of National Screen Institute in Winnipeg. We started in 2010 by offering our captioning services to the NSI Drama Prize winners. This year we were asked to take part in the Aboriginal Documentary Program and we jumped at the chance to be involved in its inaugural year. Over the past 4 years we’ve had the chance to work on some great short films and with some great emerging talent that we’ve seen graduate on to bigger and better things. We’re looking forward to seeing more of the same from the filmmakers in this new program!


February’s Recipe: Chilaquiles

Photo by stu_spivack on flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A hearty and traditional southern Mexican breakfast.
Photo by stu_spivack (CC BY-SA 2.0)

My family and I recently got back from an amazing trip to Puerto Vallarta, where this savory dish found its way onto my breakfast plate almost every day.

Adapted from this recipe.


12 large dry corn tortillas
3 eggs
4 tomatoes
1/2 c water
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove
3 chilies or jalapenos
5 T oil
1 c grated cheese: Mexican queso blanco is traditional or you can experiment with what you have on hand – goat cheese, cheddar, mozzarella, etc.
shredded chicken or other leftovers (optional)


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add tomatoes and chilies and boil until soft. Drain and mix in blender with the garlic and water.

Heat 1 T oil and fry the tomato mixture. Simmer for five minutes, adding salt to taste.

Cut the tortillas into strips. Heat remaining oil in a clean frying pan, and fry tortilla strips until crispy.

Drain the oil and crack the eggs into the pan with the tortilla strips. Stir so they don’t stick. Add salt to taste and chicken or leftovers if using to warm them.

Place in a serving bowl, then pour the tomato sauce over entire dish. Sprinkle with onions and cheese and enjoy a delicious Mexican breakfast!


Spring Ahead with These 8 Staff Book Recommendations

While it doesn’t always feel like it (three days of snow at the end of February?!), spring is right around the corner. We thought we’d give you a kick-start on your spring reading by rounding up some staff favourites of late. Whether you’re looking forward to a little free time during a March Break holiday or simply curling up weeknights before bed, we’ve got a few great recommendations to add to your “To Be Read” list. (And be sure to read to the end for our latest Project Profile and this month’s Mondegreen.)

Steffani Cameron recommends On Writing by Stephen King

In the last few months, I have been returning to read Stephen King’s On Writing, as I consider it one of the greatest books I’ve ever read about how to write and why to do certain things or not. For style, language, clarity, and motivation, it’s simply the most plain-spoken and effective book on the craft out there. I’ve never done much schooling on the writing front, and a book like King’s makes me glad I didn’t. He’s very good at helping its reader understand it’s a big world of language and style, and there’s no need to homogenize your approach or your language to suit what’s taught in class. Case in point, I often start sentences with And or But and most editors would cringe at it, but it brings a conversational and down-to-earth tone that’s in keeping with who I am.

So, I’d recommend it to anyone who makes a living writing or would like to do so. Or just people who like a good read. It’s both.

Michelle Clough recommends River God by Wilbur Smith

River God is a perennial favorite, one I pull out of my shelf and reread in patches at least once a year. The story is set in the twilight years of the Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, around the time of the Hyksos invasion, and told through the eyes of Taita, an improbably talented eunuch slave.

I was always going to love this book because I adore Ancient Egypt, but for me, River God also hits that sweet spot of genuinely good melodrama; yes, everything is a little over the top and broad strokes, but it’s all done so compellingly that you find yourself being swept up in the grand emotions of it all, particularly the poignant love story subplot. It also does a great job of getting into the mindset of an Egyptian man over 3,000 years ago, and it doesn’t shy away from showing the very different morals and values, particularly in relation to women’s rights, slave ownership, racism, etc.

Be warned that the sequels are a mixed bag. Seventh Scroll is a pretty cool adventure tale about archaeologists discovering Taita’s work in the 20th century and seeking the tomb he built; it’s fun Indiana Jones fluff. Skip Warlock and the other direct sequels, however; they definitely lose something over the original.

Carolyn Vetter-Hicks recommends The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

I read a lot. Constantly. It’s my way to chill out after a full day, when everyone is tucked in bed, and I can just escape for a while. I’m also still hooked on paper and can’t seem to adapt to e-readers!

As I hope to one day break into the world of youth fiction writing, I read a lot of this genre; it’s fun and takes me back to those wild and awkward days! One of the latest novels I read is The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. My 15-year-old daughter Adrienne also read it and we both loved it! It’s not very often that we can both say that about the same novel!

The novel is narrated by Hazel, a 16-year-old cancer patient, who falls in love with a 17-year-old former cancer patient named Augustus Waters, a handsome jock and amputee. The two meet at a cancer support group. The conditions that bring the two together are so sad and they are the most unlikely pairing of Juliet and Romeo, that it makes their love story hilarious, impossible, incredibly sad, and inspiring. Both Adrienne and I read this one in record time and closed the book thinking, “What a great story! I wish it wasn’t over.” It is so unlike any teenage or adult romance story we’ve ever read. The characters had so much going against them, but, in the end, found each other and embraced every moment together. I won’t give away any more of the plot, but it’s a big recommend from mother and daughter.

Alison Cairns recommends Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe by Charlotte Gill

I couldn’t read this book fast enough. Reminiscent of John Vaillant’s The Golden Spruce (another favourite), Eating Dirt tells the story of one full year of tree-planting in the 20 year career of author Charlotte Gill. The description of her year forms the narrative arc, while interspersed are fascinating tidbits about the logging industry, thoughts on environmentalism, the types of characters you encounter in the bush, on the camps, in the remote outposts where tree-planters are so often based. Having spent one season planting trees in northern British Columbia, I was instantly transported back to that time – the brutal conditions, the long and isolated days, but also the friendships and the satisfaction of doing something so hard core – and frankly the constant inner debate about whether what it is you’re doing is good for this planet or entirely the opposite of that. Gill describes this internal conflict with a beautiful literary style, humour and amazing detail.

Kim Downey recommends The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver

Lionel Shriver’s 2007 novel, The Post-Birthday World, poses a question we all ask ourselves at one time or another: What if, at one specific moment in our lives, we had made a different choice? Irina McGovern lives with her partner, the intellectual and responsible Lawrence, in 1990s London. One summer night, she is tempted to kiss a friend, professional snooker player and all-round party guy, Ramsey Acton. In alternating chapters, the story imagines two possibilities: one in which Irina fights off her temptation, and one in which she succumbs to it. I have always enjoyed books and films that tell two (or more!) stories in one (think Sliding Doors, Groundhog Day), but what differentiates The Post-Birthday World from other “what if” stories is that Shriver never telegraphs what she believes to be the “right” choice for Irina, thereby challenging the reader to make that decision for herself.

Rachel Moffat recommends The House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III

The House of Sand and Fog isn’t new, but it’s still a great read. The characters are deeply flawed and seem bent on making ever poorer decisions as the story progresses. By telling the story from multiple perspectives, Dubus allows us to understand why each character behaves as they do, and how their individual beliefs, motivations, and backgrounds inevitably lead them into conflict. It’s a page-turner that will leave you by turns sympathetic and frustrated, but always entertained.

And to close, two quick recos from Siri Arnet:

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Neuromancer by William Gibson

Happy reading everyone, and happy spring!

Project Profile: Rise of the ESports Hero

Rise of the ESports Hero is a fascinating look at a world many didn’t even know existed, that of professional video game players. It’s a high-pressure, high-stress, and highly paid career for the gamers that’s also a growing spectator sport. We were thrilled to caption this show and to have peered into the intriguing world of pro-gamers; we know you will enjoy it too. A big congratulations, too, to Rise of the ESports Hero on their recent Impact Award nomination! 

This Month’s Mondegreen



We enjoy a good Mondegreen as much as anyone! But you can relax in the confidence that, at Line 21, we work very hard to ensure we never create Mondegreens out of your dialogue.


Vancouver’s Bountiful Film Festivals

Because the list is so long (and really, who plans that far in advance?), today we’re only going to give you the line-up for the next three months. Options for the rest of your “year in film festivals” will follow throughout the year.

DOXA Motion Picture Film Series

Next film  :  January 21

This series runs from October to February, featuring some of the world’s most outstanding documentaries. Put on by DOXA Documentary Film Festival.

View website.

North Shore International Film Series

Next film  :  January 29

Co-presented by the North Vancouver Community Arts Council and the Toronto International Film Festival. Features a wide range of hard-to-find cinematic entertainment. Films are presented over the entire year.

View website.

PuSH Festival: Film Series

On now!

The PuSh Festival expands the horizons of Vancouver artists and audiences with work that is visionary, genre-bending, multi-disciplined, startling and original.

View website.

MissionsFest Film Festival 

January 24 – 26

Part of Missions Fest Vancouver, the MissionsFest Film Festival highlights global mission opportunities,  and showcases over 230 international Christian organizations.

View website.

The Great Digital Film Festival

January 31 – February 6

Showcasing digital favourites on the big screen.

 View website.

Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival

February 7 – 15

Features unique films and presentations that illustrate experiences and cultures from all corners of the globe. Festival also includes live presentations, films, photography, live music, and international film and photo competitions.

View website.

Spark [FWD]

February 5 – 9

Celebrating innovation and inspiration.

View website.

Just Film Festival

February 28 – March 2

Social justice and environmental documentaries that go to the heart of issues confronting communities here and around the planet.

View website.


March 1

Can you make a film in 8 days?

The Crazy8s Film Society assists, along with their wonderful sponsors, 6 filmmakers write, film and edits films within 8 days.

Production takes place Feb 14-21.

Gala Screening + Party March 1.

View website.

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival

March 6 – 9

Showcases films by both established and emerging women filmmakers from around the world. Includes films of all lengths and genres.

View website.

Rendez-vous French Film Festival

March 17 – 21

View website.

Vancouver Serbian FilmFest


An annual celebration of the best in current film production of Serbia. Check their site for updated information and exact dates.

View website.

January Mondegreen


We enjoy a good Mondegreen as much as anyone! But you can relax in the confidence that, at Line 21, we work very hard to ensure we never create Mondegreens out of your dialogue.

January’s Recipe: Chickpea Garlic Rosemary Soup

Warm and comforting, this is a great winter soup.

Excellent for a winter home-working lunch! Or for packing to the office.


1 T coconut oil or 1 T olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t dried rosemary
¼ t crushed red peppers
2 c canned or soaked/softened chickpeas
2 c stock: chicken, vegetable, or your favourite. Or water!
2 t lemon juice


In a saucepan, melt coconut oil (or olive oil).

Sauté garlic with rosemary and crushed red peppers until the garlic begins to brown.

Add chickpeas. Cook for 2 minutes.

Add stock.

Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for approximately 30 minutes.

Puree with a stick blender or in a blender.

Add lemon juice and salt to taste.

Garnish with a swirl of olive oil and a sprig of rosemary.

Inspired by this recipe.

Three suggestions for festive meals

We have one serious tradition at Line 21, and that’s an all-out holiday meal together. In the past, we’ve been on carol ships, up Grouse Mountain, in homes, and in restaurants all around the city, so we bring you some recommendations for a special festive meal with people who are important to you. Happy holidays!

We went to this amazing family-style trattoria last year, and were blown away. It’s an intimate, unpretentious location with absolutely amazing food and incredible service. In our group of around 20 people, we have a number of food allergies and sensitivities, and La Buca was able to coordinate a spectacular meal for everyone, juggling the various diner profiles with ease. Full points all around; a great venue for two people or more.

Up on 4th Avenue in Kits, this award-winning bistro provides a gracious, comfortable ambiance and delicious, high-end food and drink. Warm, delicious, fresh… steak frites or cassoulet, anyone? Great for a small to medium dinner party anytime.

We had a House Wine tasting party at Carolyn’s home one year, and it was amazing. House Wine coordinated cheese and charcuterie accompaniments from Les Amis du Fromage  and led us through a very enjoyable and interesting — and delicious — evening. Recommended for a great house party!

A Holiday Mondegreen

We enjoy a good Mondegreen as much as anyone! But you can relax in the confidence that, at Line 21, we work very hard to ensure we never create Mondegreens out of your dialogue.

December’s Recipe: Sour Apple Martini

Festive and flavourful.
Photo by Melissa Doroquez by CC BY-SA 2.0

What’s December without a little cheer? In our case, that comes in the form of Carolyn’s favourite celebratory beverage. Couldn’t be simpler. Cheers, everyone! And all the best for a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.

Inspired by this recipe.


1 oz vodka or gin
1 oz sour apple liqueur
1/2 oz green apple syrup
1 slice green apple, for garnish


Pour the vodka or gin over lots of ice into a very cold martini shaker.

Add the liqueur and syrup.

Shake vigorously and pour through strainer into a very cold martini glass. Garnish with an apple slice and have very happy holidays!

November’s Recipe: Cocoa Rice Puffs

Fast, easy, and not too sweet.

If you love chocolate puffed wheat squares, you will love these. The puffed rice makes them a great treat for anyone with food sensitivities, and you can adjust the sweetness to suit. The antioxidant-rich chocolate and the coconut oil – instead of the usual butter or margarine, corn syrup, white sugar, or brown sugar – also make these healthier than your average sweet snack. And only 4 ingredients!


4 cups puffed rice (if using honey-sweetened puffed rice, omit the sweetener)
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup very good quality hot chocolate mix + dash of high-quality sweetener if desired – but go easy!
1 cup coconut oil


Melt the coconut oil, and mix the other ingredients together in a bowl.

Let the oil cool to the point where it will coat your other ingredients — not too hot, not too cold.

Pour the oil over the other ingredients. Mix well with a spoon. Continue mixing while the oil cools enough to coat the other ingredients. If it hasn’t cooled enough, the chocolate will pool at the bottom of your muffin cups (though this is not necessarily a bad thing!)

Spoon into lined muffin cups. Enjoy!

Inspired by this recipe.