Erin’s Favourite Things

Erin's Favourite Things image - with a candle and book by a rain-splashed window

Okay. Come with me on this very self-indulgent blog post. It is the week between Christmas and New Years, I am living in my feels because this is the time where I get to. I am watching a competitive makeup show and enjoying a glass of wine from my new “Riverona High School Fencing Champion – By Default” mug. (When do you ever get to have merch that is about you? When!? This is the coolest.) And I am also about to give you the ultimate cheatsheet for becoming my friend and/or boyfriend. Because this is a list of Erin’s favourite things.

What? Why?

Because earlier this year, one of my favourite podcasts Hey Riddle Riddle did “Favourite Things” Brackets on their Patreon. They have a host named Erin Keif. It started with Erin’s Favourite Things (in bracket form) and then it expanded to the other two hosts and their editor and one of their most popular guest hosts and… anyway. It was delightful.

I’m not going to do a bracket, because how could that even work with just me? And also, maybe I’m hopping on the “Erin’s Favourite Things” SEO, but who cares? It’s my name too!

Also, I’m doing 50 things because that is what Erin Keif did. Please enjoy some wholesome and fun stuff from two women who would like to do the splits. And if you wanna bracket it… who am I to stop you?

Erin’s Favourite Things

  1. Diet Coke on Fridays
  2. The part of The Hold Steady’s “Sixers” where this riff happens (You should listen to the entire song, but this moment is the reason why this was my #2 most listened to song this year)
  3. Uggs. I wore them when they were trendy, I wore them when they were cheugy, I wear them now.
  4. When it’s raining exactly the right direction outside so you can open the window and read or sleep without any of your things getting wet
  5. When the entire Riverona cast breaks because Joel David Taylor slapped Principal Prince and came up with an unreasonably funny ad lib
  6. When your niece or nephew demands that you flip them upside down “again and again and again and again
  7. When you find a new recipe that is both delicious and good for leftovers so you can meal prep on repeat
  8. That moment where your podcast is the exact same length as your walk
  9. Pantyhose/tights that are exactly the right size and still compressive, despite the size chart making zero sense
  10. How hard this part of Taylor Swift’s “Now That We Don’t Talk” sticks in my soul (especially “with important men who think important thoughts”)
  11. Rose gold anything
  12. The last 20 minutes of a Paint Nite where finally you start to feel like you’re a good visual artist
  13. Megan Baldrey’s tinted lip balm from Wild Briar Body Care
  14. When you’re in a fitness class and the instructor perfectly times the beginning of jacks with the beat drop
  15. Cambozola
  16. Having an amazing theatre project that other people are equally excited about
  17. Friends’ Trips with Claire
  18. Rom-com novels about sports boys that have a secret soft side
  19. Those rare moments when you finally overcome your time blindness and arrive at something early enough that you can circle for parking or read your book without being stressed about time
  20. When Kevin Weir introduces me to a book series that scratches an itch I didn’t know I had
  21. Gerard Bertrand’s Cote Des Roses rose. And not just because of the bottle.
  22. Transforming any Starbucks seasonal drink into an americano misto and then going for a walk with said hot beverage
  23. Seeing plays with my mom and then debriefing them afterwards
  24. When I’m out in public and see someone who I know but I think they won’t recognize me, but then they say hi to me!
  25. Vertigo Theatre opening nights
  26. Clean sheets and freshly moisturized legs
  27. The moment that Hans Wackershauser takes a joke too far that it becomes a joke again
  28. Para-social relationships with people I actually know on Instagram but don’t get to see nearly often enough (you know who you are!)
  29. When an actor walks into an audition and they are absolutely the right person for a role (Sarah, Mike, this is about you!)
  30. Getting needlessly fancy cocktails with Claire and Kendra
  31. When you’re thinking about someone you haven’t spoken to in a hot minute and they text you at that exact same moment
  32. Aerin Amber Musk perfume
  33. Ice cream with cookie dough or brownies in it
  34. When people do really good TransAtlantic accents or vague 1940s movie impressions
  35. Every single Seanan McGuire book, especially when you forget you had a pre-order and it’s delivered to your ereader
  36. Cooking mushrooms and onions in butter (or, honestly, anything in butter)
  37. When you arrive at an airport 45 minutes before you needed to and you just get to hang out, have a bevvie and not stress
  38. The Bath & Bodyworks Champagne Toast scent
  39. Sibling cooking nights (yes, Kevin Weir, Darci and Bryan, I’m talking about you)
  40. Titanic (the James Cameron movie. All of it.)
  41. When you can hang out with your partner’s family or friends without them and it’s cool
  42. Similarly, when you are equally friends with both parts of a couple (Mike and Meg, Hans and Megan, I’m looking at you!)
  43. When you let your hair air-dry and it does exactly what you want it to do
  44. Backyard fire pits
  45. Having a solo beverage and a book while in a bar or cafe
  46. Surprisingly comfortable 5-inch heels that are also cute
  47. Waking up early but also naturally
  48. When you go to a farmers/craft/holiday market and all the vendors are friendly but not too friendly, so it’s not awkward
  49. Hotels with heated towel drying racks
  50. Discovering someone else you just met or don’t speak with often is also super into that very niche thing you love and you both talk about it excitedly together.

That’s it. I’ve been looking forward to this post literally all December and, even if it doesn’t help me garner new friends and/or boyfriends, it helped me realize what I care about. I’ve always been relentlessly positive but it feels so good to deliberately articulate things that make me this way on the blog.


So! What are some of your favourite things!? And do you think we can make this a bracket? Many of the things are universal, so I think we could!

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Beer Exchange Day 12

OMG. There are no words for how excited I am about the beer for Day 12. I saved it until as close to Christmas as possible, but popped it open last night to record – mostly because I was working at Moveology this morning and knew things would be crazy today. I was so delighted that I had Kevin to share the “opening the wrapping” moment with, even if I had to explain my delight to him.

Beer 12 wrapped

So here’s Beer 12, sitting in my recording spot… and let’s go through the cut.

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EXmas (Movie… Review???)

Okay, first of all, this is not a movie review, despite what the title says. I have no business doing a movie review. I’m just a girl (aka grownass woman) talking about a Christmas movie that I watched in the year of our lord 2023 because I thought that maybe this new release might come up at Christmas movie trivia. (It didn’t. Because why would it?) That’s right! I’m talking about the 2023 Christmas movie, EXmas, starring Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl) and Robbie Amell (Upload). And I feel medium about it!

EXmas poster - stolen from the internet

So, being a Canadian, I watched Exmas on Amazon Prime. I have no idea what it was available on otherwise – the poster says it’s a “freevee” exclusive. That seems like a real US thing. 

EXmas is a Hallmark Christmas movie with slightly more budget and slightly less concern for traditional “family values”. Like for reals – the plot summary is “Graham surprises his family at Christmas only to discover his ex-fiancee is already celebrating the holiday with his family when he arrives” (IMBD, 2023). Could it be any more trope-y? (tm Chandler Bing. RIP, Matthew Perry.)

But, honestly, Meester and Amell have good chemistry and there are a few genuinely good laughs. (There are also some shoehorned in scenarios, but what else is new?) And also, who hasn’t been on a date with a sales guy where he tries to sell you the thing his business is all about? There are mild stakes, some mild drama, a little bit of a health scare, but nothing that won’t be resolved within 24 hours. And at least in this movie, unlike so many others, the main characters actually talk about their emotions and thoughts. Occasionally.

Do not pay money for this movie. But if you have a festive drink, a festive spirit, and access to Amazon Prime, Exmas is absolutely worthwhile while you are wrapping presents or whatever.

Also, there is a goat.

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Beer Exchange Day 11

Can I just say how many times I recounted today to confirm it was actually Day 11? It just does not feel like December 22. It does feel like the Christmas season (for me at least), but it doesn’t seem that close to the actual big day. I think I usually wrap on this day every year and it’s like 9 pm and I haven’t pulled that together yet so… um… probably not? Somehow I’ll figure that out tomorrow. I work at the studio and I need to record MOA, but as y’all know – I’m really good at fitting a lot of things into one day. 

Beer 11 Wrapped

But not today! Today is not about wrapping presents. Today is about talking about Beer 11, which I obviously drank while watching the Survivor season finale. Behind the cut is beer spoilers and also Survivor spoilers. You’ve been warned.

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Naughty… But Nice (Theatre Thursday)

Naughty... But Nice publicity shot
Picture courtesy of Forte’s Facebook page –
this moment is right before a really great boy band number about being seated at the Kids’ Table

On this, the last Theatre Thursday of 2023, I am writing about a theatre event that is ending in 2023. And, okay, yes – I understand that theatre is ephemeral and exists only in the moment and also pretty much every local show in Calgary is ending in 2023 anyway because runs are short. But that’s not the point. You’ll understand what I mean if you read the title. Today, I am writing about Forte Musical Theatre’s Naughty… But Nice

What Is Naughty… But Nice?

Ah. You must be a new reader who didn’t experience my Naughty… But Nice post from 2021. To quote myself from the past “Naughty But Nice is a comedy musical theatre revue – all original songs, all sassy, all funny.” It’s also a yearly tradition and this year is the 10th incarnation. 

It’s also the last year. Forte has announced that there is another holiday show coming next year, but this is the last time that we’ll be able to hear such classics as “Bailey’s For Breakfast”, “Why Do I Live Where the Air Hurts My Face?”, and, my personal favourite, “Just Another New Year’s Eve”. (I thought this song was new in 2021. I have discovered that I was wrong but I don’t care because it’s still my favourite.) 

Why See It This Year?

Other than because it’s the last one? Because this year is a delight. It is such an amazing celebration of all the things that make this show what it is. There is not just one but two songs about sleeping with Santa. Scott Olynek gets to sing his song, “Bailey’s For Breakfast”. The audience gets to vote on songs when there are various songs that fit a specific niche. (One of which is New Year’s Eve songs… and my performance was lucky enough to include my fav from above.) 

There is a medley where the performers mash together, like, 50+ classic Christmas songs and carols. There is also a medley to include a bunch of popular NBN songs that aren’t in this production. And there are new songs. And the show ends with a video completion of clips from the past ten years, which is enough to make you cry.

And Eric Wigston is a goddman delight in his first year in the show.

Now, if I have one small criticism, it’s that this particular compilation of Naughty… But Nice songs makes a show that is heavy on dude solos and light on solos for Katherine and Katelyn. But maybe that was in part because of the songs that my particular performance voted on? Hard to say.

So We Should See This Show?

Anyway. Just go buy tickets. If you’re reading this post on the day it comes out, there are four more performances (though tickets are selling fast). And if you can’t make it to NBN – that’s okay. Forte is dropping another new show in the spring and I will do everything in my power to see it and write about it here. 

I love local theatre.

Oh! And also also – they dropped a music video to perennial classic “Why Do I Live Where the Air Hurts My Face?”. Check it below. (Important note – Justine Westby now lives in Florida. Coincidence? I think not.)

Why Do I Live Where the Air Hurts My Face?

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Beer Exchange Day 10

Welcome to the shortest of Blogmas posts! The days are getting short, the number of social plans I have are getting long, and I am sort of ready for a night at home. I am always trying to find mildly fun (or interesting) things to do while enjoying the Beer Exchange beers, mostly for content reasons. 

But on this day? On this semi-worn out day? 

I made some dinner and then took a bath while enjoying Beer 10.

Beer 10 Wrapped

Oh! But this is very funny. Megan’s five or six year old nephew helped with the wrapping of Beer 10 by giving the beers names, not numbers. But he got bored partway through, so Megan and her brother (aka the dad) had to name the rest to keep it going. So my beer was named Karol. Named by a child, his dad, or his aunt? 

You decide!

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Talespin Trivia

When I started this blog, one of my core goals was to share fun things that I did in Calgary. Which I did fairly well for a time – at least until I did too many shows and a Masters degree. (I don’t think I wrote a single post in 2019.) Then, for a time, I did very few fun things in Calgary, unless you count my living room as Calgary, for reasons that we are all very aware of. And now I feel like I just haven’t really gotten back into the vibe of sharing fun things that aren’t plays. And Blogmas is about getting into routines, so why not take an opportunity to talk about a fun thing I’ve been doing in Calgary!? Talespin Trivia YYC!

Talespin Trivia? Is That Like Trivial Pursuit?

Sort of? I guess? 

Talespin Trivia YYC is Alan, creator and host of trivia events here in Calgary. He’s also a friend and theatre colleague, but that is neither here nor there. Because his trivia is great. He writes fun questions that are clever, informative, and occasionally a little convoluted. Sometimes it is a long walk around from the initial setup to what the question actually is, which is all a part of the magic because it keeps you on your toes. 

We first started attending Alan’s trivia on Mondays at Citizen Brewing, a tucked away brewery in the northeast of Calgary. Megan and Hans had been looking for something to do while we enjoy delicious beverages and Alan’s trivia was the thing we decided to try. We were hooked! It’s just nice to know things, you know? Plus the dream team (Megan, Hans, Kevin, Claire and I – plus Kevin’s girlfriend Jess sometimes or a rotating series of friends) is wildly competitive so we like a thing that we do well at. Yes, we’ve won a couple of times over the past year and a half.

Anyway, we’ve now followed Alan to a few of his other event venues – including tomorrow night at Dickens Pub for Christmas Movie trivia! (Will we be good at this? Hard maybe – we have breadth of knowledge as a team, not depth.) I’ll try to drop a few pictures, at least on the Stories if nothing else.

You Haven’t Actually Explained What This Trivia Looks Like

Right! Too much enthusiasm! 

Pub trivia. Get together a group of your friends (usually 6 is the max, some places take up to 8), arrive at a pub/brewery/cidery at a pre-determined time, enjoy some delicious drinks, and prepare to answer trivia questions. There will be a sheet of paper or cue cards to write your answers on. There is usually a buy-in (maybe $5-10) to compensate the host for their time and hard work. There is usually a prize of some sort for first place and maybe even second or third. (Usually the prize involves a gift card to the venue. For obvious reasons.)

Most of the pub trivia I’ve been to involves 6 rounds. Sometimes the rounds are themed, sometimes they aren’t. Talespin Trivia always has themed rounds because it helps Alan come up with question ideas – after all, constraints cause creativity. Especially with the events at Citizen, because they are General Knowledge trivia, versus the Dickens events which tend to have an overarching theme. There may be Name That Tune style rounds or identify things/people/toys in pictures type rounds. 

And the most important thing to know? Don’t shout out the answers! (Unless the host tells you that you can.) 

So What’s Your Thesis Statement Here?

Obviously, it’s that trivia is fun and you should follow Talespin Trivia on instagram to find out when Alan’s next event is because he is our favourite.

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Beer Exchange Day 9 (plus a bonus cookie recipe!)

How is it Day 9 already!? (Of the Beer Exchange, I mean, I know it’s Day 18 of Blogmas.) I know people always say that as you get older, time passes more quickly, but this year it really seems that way. Whether I’m at work or at play, the one thing that seems consistent is that I look up and suddenly hours have passed. 

Gingerbread cookies

I am getting so much done in those hours, though! (Except for making my home not be in disarray. I haven’t found time for that yet. But I do have my Christmas tree up, so what more do you want from me?) For instance, yesterday we did our traditional Christmas baking with the girls and we somehow whipped through the four recipes in just over two hours. We are becoming efficiency machines!

Of note (and maybe why we were so fast), we didn’t have our usual little helper yesterday. Rylee was feeling a little boogie, so she stayed home to have a “couch day” with her daddy. And the little helper we did have was pretty chill – introducing Wren!

Wren!

Wren had very little input on what we baked yesterday.

We made a few usual suspects – the gingerbread cookies I shared a few years ago, classic chocolate cookies with Rolos in them, and our Toblerone shortbread. Plus we busted out something new – Mars Bar Squares. They were truly delicious. And Canadian. 

Beer 9 wrapped (with toblerone shortbread recipe)

Plus, I took this opportunity to enjoy Beer 9 from the exchange! So follow me through the cut to find out what the beer was and maybe even get a recipe as well…

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Ricardo’s Sippin’ Santa Pop-Up – Redux!

What a good day yesterday was! It was jam-packed, but it had so much good theatre, friends, drinks, and food. And you read it here first – Sarah Nearing is not just a fantastic vocal instructor, she is going to take the playwriting world by storm sooner than you might expect. But I am non-sequitering. And Sarah’s play is Sarah’s story to share when she’s ready to share. So instead, I’m going to hop back to Friday and talk about Ricardo’s Sippin’ Santa pop-up bar – redux!

Some of you may remember two years ago when my MEd friends and I did the Sippin’ Santa pop up at Ricardo’s Hideaway. (What you may or may not know is that I’ve still never actually been to Ricardo’s for their regular menu. It’s fine. I’ll get it together one day.) That year, it was a specifically scheduled, fairly planned out, event. This year? Totally spontaneous plans!

I had a bit of an odd day at work on Friday and Megan and Hans were recovering from getting some seasonal vaccines. We needed seasonal fun to distract ourselves! So we swung by Market Collective to pick up a few gifts, then headed over to Ricardo’s because festive drinks.

Ricardo's Lobby

Now, let me make it clear that we were very lucky when we arrived at Ricardo’s. It is a very small space and, at least on Friday, they were not keeping a list. Which, I get it. They don’t really have a lobby that people can hang in while waiting. But we happened to be weighing our options right as a group at the bar paid – and glory was ours!

The Ricardo’s Sippin’ Santa Drinks

Okay, this is fun. While much of the glassware is the same, the drinks are actually different this year. (With the exception of the signature Sippin’ Santa. Which… I get it.) This is genius, at it lets the mixologists who design the menu get creative but also keeps the people coming back.

You know. If they realize it’s different. Which I didn’t until now. But that’s a me problem, not a them problem.

This year instead of going for a hot booze option (even though I love hot booze), I selected the Yule Tide almost exclusively for the adorable mermaid Santa mug. However, I do like tequila and cranberry, and I drank this delicious boy maybe a little bit too fast.

Speaking of adorable, Megan and Hans shared the North Pole Bowl. It maybe took us a little bit too long to figure out that the figurines are Santa and a reindeer having a little soak. We thought crocodile, pig, wolf… It’s fine. We’re fine. I snagged a sip and it was yummy – very much as if a gingerbread cookie and black tea were a cold beverage.

The Ricardo’s Sippin’ Santa Decor

Sippin’ Santa continues to be festive and vibe-y, with sparkles everywhere. There is a ton to look at, definitely a good conversation starter if you’re worried about running out of things to talk about. It’s cute. And not too loud! 

(We also went to National on 17th, which was both loud and not festive. Give it a skip for now.) 


So, I need to know. There are lots of pop-ups in town – which would you go for? Classic cocktails? Tiki drinks? Beer? There’s something for everyone!

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Beer Exchange Day 8

I feel like you all can kind of guess what’s coming. This is the point in December where days are getting busy. We have nine (9!!!) days until Christmas and my schedule is starting to get jam-packed with plans. In fact, I’m darting off this post quickly before I go to see blog favourite, Forte Musical Theatre’s Naughty… But Nice!, enjoy my yearly festive get-together with Claire and Kendra, and then read a new play by one of my favourite new collaborators.

Beer 8 wrapped

So, you can imagine – I was looking for a little bit of consistency, familiarity, and comfort this week. Beer Eight gave me exactly what I needed as I settled in to watch another episode of Survivor. (And significantly less infuriating than last week’s episode! What a delight!) Though Austin should definitely be making that penitent face that he is making in this photo.

Beer 8 unwrapped - Sea Change Brewing Company's Prairie Fairy
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