Sometimes A Video Comes At The Right Time

introspective after video
I’m the worst at Youtube videos. I never like, I never comment, it takes forever before I remember to subscribe – even if I love every video you post. I’m working really hard at being an engaged viewer. I’m not there yet but, hey, what is life if we aren’t always striving towards something, right? One day I will totally remember to comment on a video.

I also go in waves in terms of what videos or channels I watch based on what I need in life. (Yes, I realize this is not unique to me. I’m building to something. Give me a break, imaginary reader that I have apparently decided is harassing me!)

I really love watching Carrie Dayton when I need a video with a few laughs, some body positivity or just some old fashioned reassurance that it’s okay to not be 100% a grownup all the time at 30. Also, can we talk about how jealous I am of her ability to rock a half bun?

My other fav, and I’m not alone in this at all, is Kalyn Nicholson. Kalyn is not someone to watch all the time. Sometimes I’m not in the mood for her spiritual early 20s discoveries and I just want to shout “Yes, we were all 24 and drove cars through the mountains once! Geez!” But sometimes… sometimes I let those videos pile up and I just disappear into two hours of beautifully edited, yoga-filled, inspiring content.

Sometimes a video just comes at exactly the right time.

(Or I watch that video two months after it came out and that is exactly the right time.)

This video is the one I’m talking about. As you may be able to guess from my radio silence recently, I’m grappling with the idea of regret and wondering about some choices that I made what seems like a very long time ago – or was somewhat manhandled into, what seems like a very long time ago. Nostalgia is a real bitch, my friends.

Anyway, I was finally in a Kalyn mood and the Toxic Things video popped up on my feed. It was exactly what I needed this month to get me out of dwelling in the past and force me to focus on the future. We let go of things for a reason and sometimes it is hard but it’s so worth it. And Kalyn says it better than I do so please head on over to Youtube and give this girl a little love.

(Just for fun, Here’s a throwback to the last time I felt real introspective about this exact thing and also used this exact picture, apparently. Two steps forward, one step back, my beautiful friends.)

~*~*~

I’m thinking that I want to make Tuesday posts (when I have Tuesday posts) about new discoveries/media that I like, etc. How do ya’ll feel about that? It’ll be like a mini-version of Wonderful, except not a podcast and not as clever as Rachel & Griffin and also not starring a 30 under 30 media luminary. So… not like Wonderful at all.

Hey! What’s your favourite recent discovery? Hit me up in the comments!

This Girl Reads Books

Yes, it’s true. This girl has fallen into an absolute spiral of locking herself in her basement and just all reading books, all the time. Why? Why have I turned into a book hermit?

Partially – I went to a writing conference with my brother Kevin from the weekend of August 10-12. You know how being around people who are hyped about the books they are writing just makes you want to read all the books they are writing?

Partially – it’s been hot and smoky in Calgary which makes me just want to hang in a cool, dark, well ventilated space. It’s as if I am a good bottle of red wine. (And yes, I know we are so much luckier than our friends in BC or California, but my asthmatic lungs just can’t mess with that 10+ air quality index situation.)

And partially – I have a problem that I think all my book buddies can relate to. I put a bunch of buzzy e-books on hold at the library, I waited months for them and then suddenly they all came in within days of each other. Yeah. That’s what I’m dealing with. My life is obviously terribly challenging. #firstworldproblems

Reading books, while being terribly fun, inspiring and transforming, is not exceptionally good blog content. Unless you do what I’m doing… and review a few of the books you’ve read lately! Yes! Without further ado… here are some books:

Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe by Madeline Miller

How can a goddess be so human in her flaws and dreams? Circle is absolutely magical in its re-telling of the full mythology of Circe (not just her appearance in The Odyssey). It is equal parts poetry and modern realism and absolutely compelling.

I’m super into Greek mythology, mostly due to performing in productions of Oedipus Rex, Antigone and The Trojan Women during university. Well, and Troy. Man, I love a trashy, non-historically accurate “historical fiction” movie. Circe takes the Circe of The Odyssey and pieces together the various myths about her in an absolutely gorgeous way. It does start up a little bit slowly and I did keep thinking every mortal she met was Odysseus but I still whipped through this dense book in something along the lines of three days.

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

Ugh.

I’m sorry. I loved The Rosie Project and I just kind of felt like this book subverted everything that was charming and quirky about the first book by taking it too far. In an attempt to create drama, Simision pulled all the characters so far that they were just unlikable. Your mileage may vary, but this book was not my jam. Some books just don’t need a sequel, methinks.

The Fountain by Suzy Vadori

The Fountain by Suzy Vadori

As a YA novel, you expect a quick read (which isn’t a bad thing!) – what I didn’t expect was to be completely engrossed and whip through this lovely little story in about two hours. Vadori masterfully paints what it’s like to be a teenager (granted, a teenager who makes a casual wish only to have it actually come true… can’t we all identify with that?) in a novel filled with magic, friends and rivals, adventure and a tiny bit of romance.

I whipped through The Fountain over a glass of wine and reviled in the memory of what it was like to be a teenager and live vicariously through a little magic.

Vacationland by John Hodgman

Vacationland by John Hodgman

No, John Hodgman is not particularly relatable. But who wants to read a memoir that basically describes their own life? He is insightful, funny and incredibly self-aware. Just like his podcast, Vacationland offers an absurdly witty reflection on the human condition told by a man who was once a teenager who just wanted to grow up to be a middle-aged bachelor.

I do think you might need to be into John Hodgman and his whole vibe in order to appreciate this book… but isn’t that true of a lot of memoirs? Context is key.

You can check me out on Goodreads (which I literally just started up), if you so wish… or you could just recommend me some good books here! Hit me up, whatcha reading!?

All images lovingly stolen from Goodreads

April Wrap-Up

British Museum
Y’all, it feels like it’s been months and months since I wrote a monthly wrap up post. There have been so many different things to happen in the month of April that I cannot believe it’s only been 30 days. Also, they are painting the offices at my work and it is making my allergies act up like whoa, so my mind isn’t exactly all here either. I’m a little worried about the day after they paint my physical office. #firstworldproblems, am I right?

Overall Month Rating
A. It has been absolutely beautiful week and today there was free pizza at work, but I swear I’m not blinded by that. This month I went to London with my baby brother, I maybe sourced a fun little way to make some extra money during the summer, I started rehearsals for an incredibly fun play… and I found a roommate for the summer. Yes, it’s only for four months, but I think it will be so much easier trying to find a roommate for September than for February and it warms my heart to help out an endearing little college student for the summer.

Highlight of the Month
Can I just say all of London? If I have to narrow it down, seeing In the Heights in the King’s Cross Theatre or our Yeoman Warder tour at The Tower of London were definitely hugely great days/moments.

Lowlight of the Month
I NPC’ed a 12+ hour long LARP event the day after returning from London. I love LARP, but that was a poor choice. I took two fairly lengthy naps during the event, on a couch in a room that houses some sort of childcare/child playroom/child thing and that is never a recipe for waking up and feeling good about your life and your choices.

Number of Workouts Completed
Okay, it may have been an ambitious choice to loudly state that I was going to start a Couch to 5K on a month that included a two week trip to a place full of cider, fish and chips, and museums. That definitely did not happen. There was also a two week break from barre during the trip… but I sure did complete a ton of steps daily while trying to save money on the Underground. I’ve also kept up the soothing morning yoga.

Number of Plays Watched
Well, I’ve been pretty open about seeing three rad plays in London…

Number of Movies Watched
In theatres – 0. All my money was ear-marked for London this month!
At home/on the airplane – 8. When you are determined to kill jetlag, you can watch an awful lot of movies on an airplane. (However, it didn’t work. Maybe I’m getting old?) We also watched Hot Fuzz approximately two times (in various bits and pieces) over our time in London, caught Clueless while exhausted one night and on our second last morning of our trip, we enjoyed a bit of a lazy morning and plugged the tablet into the tv to enjoy Frozen on Netflix with a morning cider.

Number of Dates I Took Myself On
Just one! I agreed to drive Bryan and Darci to an event so they could drink and, while they were in the event, I took myself for a petite dinner and reading date. Naturally, it was awesome. (It also led to my potential opportunity for the summer.)

Best New Food Discovery
Jacket potatoes are super a thing in London, I realized. Lots of pubs had a lengthy list of different jacket potato fillings you could select from and there were even street vendors that offered ones to purchase and eat on the go. One night, while dying for a little comfort food, I enjoyed a jacket potato with tuna and mayo stuffed in it. You can guarantee that I will be whipping one of those bad boys up on a lazy winter Thursday night.

Best New Culture Discovery
Anne Perry’s Inspector Thomas Pitt series of historical mysteries. This is really more of a re-discovery, as I read and started ideally collecting the series in paperback when I was in university and always needed a paperback book to stash in my bag for transit. When I was in London, though, I kept recognizing street names from the titles of her books and now I am devouring these books like crazy. Twisty and turn-y mystery plots, an accurate Victorian London landscape, awesome and complex female characters (Thomas’ eventual wife Charlotte is arguably the main character of series) and a quirky cop as the title character all come together to create a light, entertaining read that doesn’t make you feel like you have a sugar hangover.

Best Book Read
The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. I’m a sucker for anything zombie, but this book approaches it in such an interesting way. It’s obvious that there are zombies, but it isn’t about zombies, per say. When the book finished, I knew it was over, I knew the story that needed to be told had been told, but I still wanted a sequel. This book is equal turns eerie, thought-provoking and heartbreaking. Please read it.

A note: I feel a little bit awkward writing this post without acknowledging the fires in Fort McMurray. At the same time, I’m not sure exactly what to say. It’s sort of similar to the Calgary floods of 2013 for me – though I knew very few people directly affected by the floods (many of my friends were evacuated briefly but their homes were safe), it was ever present in everyone’s world and we were all affected. That’s sort of how the fires are flitting around the edge of my world. An absolutely lovely woman that I work with recently moved down from Fort Mac and I will be supporting her and the friends/family that are fleeing down to her. Please educate yourself on what is happening to our neighbours in the north and what you can do for them to help out the most.

Nonsense on a March Wednesday

Last night, I went to a wonderful liquor and cupcake pairing event at Willow Park with my wonderful best friend Claire. Here is a picture of Claire and I being incredibly professional while running a clothing swap fundraising event for our theatre company in the now-defunct Auburn bar because why not?

fundraiser and trees 010

I was all set to very professionally review the tasting event, much like I did for the Chocolate, Bacon and Booze event. But when Claire and I are together, we very easy dissolve into insanity, giggling and basically being the same person so my notes very very quickly degraded to only include Michael Biggatini quotes and various hashtags that we thought were hilarious at the time. So instead of doing a proper review, I will direct you to check out my Instagram for cupcake envy and encourage you to buy rumchata. It is a cream liquor and is a million times better than Bailey’s. I suspect I will probably drink an entire bottle in coffee next holiday season. (Claire generally likes to put enough sugar in her coffee to make it taste like aT five cent candy and even she agreed that the rumchata was so good, you wouldn’t need sugar in the coffee.)

In short, Willow Park continues to be amazing and the next time you go to a tasting event, please invite me. I will make it fun and also we will learn so much.

Willow Park Crave

This post is too short so now onto some nonsense… I’m basically killing it so far this March.

Yesterday, I only spent $32 – after the tasting event, Claire and I hit up The Cactus Club on Macleod for drinks and gossip. We had two very classy cocktails each (a French 75 and a Negroni for me… I love gin) and shared some raw tuna appies so, really, that was a very reasonable spend! Also, so much gossip and giggling. KILLING IT.

Today, I arrived at work with 10 minutes spare, just like my being-a-grownup goal required, and I even stopped for gas on the way to work. KILLING IT.

Tonight, after work (which was thrilling and exhausting because it was Match Day – when the third year students find out where they will be going for their residency – and I get super caught up in the students’ emotions), I taught a barre class and then took a barre class. I also resisted the urge to pick up delicious-but-pricey sushi on the way home and instead whipped up a quick egg dish when I got home. DOUBLE KILLING IT.

And now I have committed to a 7:15 barre class tomorrow morning and I’ve already put together my breakfast for tomorrow so I have no excuses.

I am feeling so incredibly positive that March will be even more than a B+ month.

(PS: I’ll be back tomorrow with significantly more fun and significantly less nonsense. Maybe I’ll actually even talk about some fun things I’ve done in Calgary recently that you may want to do as well.)

Short-Lived TV Shows I Love

I have had plans every evening this week and I have cancelled every single one of them. And I have loved it. Flu season had a late start here in Calgary and I’ve been pulling eleven hour days at the ol’ day job so going home at the end of the day and zoning out with a little TV and leftovers is heaven. Last night I was asleep at 9:30 and today, for the first time this week, I feel energized.

So, obviously Fit February is off to a raring start. (But still! Over 15 000 steps per day! That has to count!)

My new shut-in nature has also granted the opportunity to catch a few episodes of Eugene & Daniel Levy’s Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek on Netflix. At work, I’ve had numerous people, independently of each other, tell me that I remind them so much of the daughter on the show that they’ve actually checked the credits to see who was playing her. I don’t know if I see it yet, but Schitt’s Creek is a weird quirky little show, which I love, so I’ll keep watching it anyway.

“Weird quirky little show” is a pretty apt definition when it comes to the type of tv I like. I’m a big fan of the “gets cancelled after 13 episodes” or the “it’s crazy that they got renewed” niche. So, if you like little shows that make you feel better about your life, here’s a short list of short-lived tv shows I love:

1) Mixology
Mixology
This guy only had 13 episodes, one season, and I’m honestly not sure if it could have handled any more seasons. Mixology tells the story of 10 singles in a bar over one night – each episode is a little vignette that centres around two of the characters, though the other storylines progress as well. It’s easy to bang through this entire series in a week and it always inspires me to dress up and head to a cocktail bar. Also, I’m a fan of everything Vanessa Lengies does. [You can watch Mixology on Canadian Netflix.)

2) Friends with Better Lives
Friends with Better Lives
13 episodes filmed, only 8 episodes aired… maybe I wouldn’t have loved this sitcom if it kept going, but there was just something about the premise. Hey, these are people in their early 30s who are all in completely different places in their lives and that is cool. Add in some James Van Der Beek and Zoe Lister-Jones and an early episode about what a guys’ night becomes when you hit your thirties and move to the suburbs… I’m happy. (However, Friends With Better Lives apparently has a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I mostly watched it on the airplane while travelling for work… So I may have terrible taste. But the acting on this show is just SO GOOD.) (Friends With Better Lives can be found on Amazon for purchase.)

3) Garfunkel and Oates
Garfunkel and Oates
The Netflix app on my new SmartTV doesn’t easily show how many episodes there are of a given show if you just click on it to watch it and, holy geez, I was so disappointed when I realized there was only one short season of this show after binging on it. Garfunkel and Oates is a folk comedy band (consisting of Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, who you will definitely recognize as every present guest stars if you watch any comedy at all) and the tv show is a fictitious look at their lives trying to make it in LA. Awesome strong funny girls trying to make their way in the world… with songs? I’m in! (Garfunkel and Oates can be viewed on Netflix.)

4) Happy Endings
Happy Endings
This quirky little ensemble comedy about six friends dealing with the fallout of two members of their group splitting up, featured an all-star cast (seriously… Adam Pally, Elisha Cuthbert, Damien Wayans Jr…) and sharp writing. It is an even better version of Friends with Better Lives. Happy Endings actually made it to three seasons, but was plagued with a strange episode sequence in Season One (the ever present “they” were concerned about too many episodes about the breakup off the top of the series so the first season aired in an odd order) and with its airing time being bumped around during Season Three. I cannot say enough good things about this show. If you love clever, aware humour , even in the wackiness of situations – early New Girl, anyone? – track Happy Endings down and watch it. (Happy Endings is tragically no longer on Netflix. The first season was released on DVD in Canada and the rest of the seasons are considered imports… One day, they will be mine, though – and for a reasonable price!)

5) Veronica Mars
Veronica Mars
Wikipedia describes Veronica Mars as a teenage noir drama, but I still think it fits on my list. And, yes, it was critically acclaimed, has a movie and stars Kristen Bell… but it was still consistently plagued with potential cancellation (that is why the third season has several mini-story arcs) so it counts as short-lived and underappreciated! Even if murder mysteries aren’t your thing, give Veronica Mars a chance… if only to watch the brilliant nuanced performance that Kristen Bell brings to every second she is on-screen. And the rest of the cast isn’t too shabby either… (Psst: Krysten Ritter, Max Greenfield, Alona Tal and Jonathan Bennett are only some of the guest stars who will have you going “Hey! It’s them!”.) (Veronica Mars can be found streaming on Netflix. But it’s so worth it to invest in your very own copies on DVD.)

6) Community
Community
If Veronica Mars maybe doesn’t fit on this list, Community maybe really doesn’t fit on this list. After all, it is so close to the six seasons and a movie that Abed always referenced. But, at the risk of sounding like a super hipster, I was into it first! I made everyone I know watch it. I have an ex-boyfriend who told me I was the Dean, because he was Jeff Winger, which made me the Dean because I loved both costumes and Jeff Winger. Every season has real winning moments, though I think the second is my favourite season and the third season Christmas episode is my favourite episode. Community does Glee better than Glee does. Just watch it. (Community can be found on Hulu in the US and on Netflix in Canada.)

I wonder how long I can keep being a shut-in for so I can re-watch all my shows! What are your favourite semi-unknown shows to watch when you just can’t brave the rest of the world?