Angela Ognev

After Small Talk

At “After Small Talk,” we discussed what we would like more of in our conversations, what may be holding us back, things that we would like to work on or experiment with, and the importance of reflection and self-awareness. In the spirit of practicing self-awareness and being experimental, here are some journaling exercises based on


Our April topic of “Authenticity” was suggested a number of times, by guests who wanted to discuss conflicts between personal and work or relationship needs, standing up for something, finding “true self,” and the Imposter Syndrome (feeling like a fraud). What if we are different people in different contexts — at work or with different groups

Conversations About Sex

Our March topic of “Sex Ed for Adults” was formerly “Sex Ed 2017” — the intention, both times, was to discuss how we learn about sex and relationships, what works, and what we would like to see more of. Through discussion, we realised that “education” feels limited to a time and place, but sex is

Date -> Marry -> Kids !?

Our Feb topic of “Date -> Marry -> Kids!?” was sparked by a guest’s comment that her parents were pushing her to marry and have children. The resulting discussion encompassed a number of topics: What’s the purpose of relationships, for you? What do you desire or expect? How do you approach them? How have your

Work <-> Self

What is the relation between “work” and our sense of “self” or our identity? How does work impact our non-work actions, choices, and relationships? On Dec 20th, we started with these questions, moving on to discuss life in theory and practice (of values, work-life balance, etc.), the role of motivation in productivity, making beliefs practical,

Porn & Its Impact

What role does porn play in your day-to-day life, your relationship, in sex education and the culture around sexuality? What impact has it have and how is it changing? What have you learned? On Nov 22nd, we hosted a discussion on this topic, joined by 15 people who brought unique viewpoints and experiences into the

Unproductive Days

Between the highs, there are lows. When did you disappoint yourself, drop the ball, give up, lose motivation, procrastinate – and how did you get unstuck? What is the role of your emotions and passions in productivity? How do you decide on new focuses or directions? On Sept 20th, we started with these questions, moving

Not Everyday Ideas

What are your favourite ideas? What ideas are you excited to share — even if they don’t come up everyday? What epiphanies have impacted what you do each day? On August 30th, we hosted the “Ideas & Epiphanies” dinner. The group decided together that this would be a good platform to share the big ideas

Tough conversations

On April 5th, we held a dinner on “How to Have Tough Conversations.” This dinner was sparked by previous attendees, who wanted to bring crucial, taboo conversations into their day to day life. We had different definitions of tough, and what makes something tough. We began to explore the fears, expectations/assumptions, feelings, and norms that

Modern Love

On Feb 16th, we held a dinner on “Modern Love,” about the intersection of technology and dating… about what technology enables, alters, hinders, and creates in the area of love. CTSTers were keen to discuss online dating experiences, the kind of connection technology encourages or discourages, changing definitions of love, miscommunications, hiding or sharing different parts

Impostor syndrome

The official definition Impostor syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true. It is experienced internally as chronic self-doubt, and feelings of intellectual fraudulence. What would you modify or add to that? How has your own experience been? On

Sex, Kink, & Taboo

(NSFW) On Oct 20th, we held a dinner on “Sex & Taboo.” The topic ranged from what is taboo for us and for society, to how we start conversations that are stereotypically hard to have and discover or explore what excites us. The following is a compilation of 1) sexy and kinky resources and research

Affairs: drawing our own line between “good” and “not good”

Affairs and cheating have been a hot topic in the public sphere — with political scandals, celebrity rumours, and the exposing of members of Ashley Madison (a dating site for married people). Let’s bring affairs down into the personal level. We’re curious about how they happen, why they’re tempting, the impact they have, how trust

Mindfulness… in practice

In theory, gratitude, living in the moment, and inviting joy is all easy — all sensical — but how and when is it working in practice? When does it rock and when does it flop? (And flopping is ok!) 15 strangers joined us for a blunt, curious dinner discussion on Practical Mindfulness. Here are our takeaways

What do you believe about money?

What is your relationship to money? What does money have to do with freedom, success, happiness, independence, value, cost, worth, love, family, and more? On June 16th, 15 curious people discussed the intellectual, personal, and pragmatic aspects of money. Here’s what we wrote on the takeaways notepad, sorted by category: Why is talking about money

Drugs: Experience & Morality

April 6th, CTST Dinner. Let’s talk about substance… and its roles as experience, escape, addiction, or medication. From coffee, alcohol, and cigarettes, to weed, mushrooms, cocaine, and more, drugs raise concerns but is rarely discussed. Are there good and bad reasons to use any drug? What defines right and wrong? What’s the role of law

Are you afraid of dying? Why?

Death – fear of death, death of a loved one, planning for our own, rituals and traditions. These were the topics of the Curious Dinner on March 16th. 11 brave souls came in and defied the conventional norms of conversation. We moved smoothly from religion to philosophy, from prisons to euthanasia, from personal stories to wishes,

There’s no such thing as cheating — only lying

The very first curious dinner was on Feb 2nd. The topic? Open relationships. 15 brave souls came in and defied the conventional norms of conversation. We cut the small talk, bottom-lined what we wanted to say, asked questions deeply personal and intimate, paused technical comments or judgements, shared stories and fears. Here is some of

Rethink Failure — Entrepreneur Takeaways

Before we were Cut The Small Talk and FuckUp Nights, we were Rethink Failure — our goal was to challenge the definitions of failure and success, to teach people not just not to launch but also how to land softly. Our first event was on Dec 18th… part Christmas party, part panel on the topics