Real talk time. I totally get that I’ve been writing about a lot of “going out and having festive fun” things so far this Blogmas. And I know that’s not everyone’s vibe. Maybe your going out comfort level is different than mine. Maybe you always prefer “home” to “not home”. Maybe you just need a little break because you’ve been out too much. Maybe you live where the air hurts your face.
We all have our own reasons to prefer to be at home. So, this week, I will be featuring activities that I’ve done at home this holiday season and ideas to keep your home time festive.
Y’all! Y’all! How are we here on Beer Exchange Day 7? How are we so far into this month?
And how has it been such a nice December? I feel like this time of year is often frantic and crazy. And, while this December has definitely been very full of social events and projects, it’s felt very manageable. I’ve been wondering if part of the reason it’s been like this is because I’ve been taking a few moments daily to come and check into this space?
Let me start by saying that I get it – this picture looks like a medium bustling conference centre in the year of our lord 2021 where we can gather if we are double-vaccinated and wearing masks. (And look at how I snuck the COVID mitigation tactics that are in place right in there at the beginning – so smooth these days!) But once you take just a few more steps further, you’ll see that you are in a quirky, festive world of local artisans – you’re at Market Collective!
If you didn’t get it before, these festive bathrooms will leave no doubt that you are at a kitschy, quirky, holiday market. Calgary regularly hosts a ton of holiday markets. You could probably hit up a different one every weekend between the beginning of November and Christmas, if you planned carefully. Some of these are higher end, premium artisan markets, like Art Market at the Telus Convention Centre. Others are held in community centres and feature all the amazing home artists that you didn’t know were in your community.
Market Collective strikes a perfect balance between the two ends of the spectrum. Sure, there were several big name breweries on site and a few artists were definitely at Art Market as well. But for every artisan I recognized, there was one that was completely new to me. I can’t show any of my purchases because many are gifts, but let me just say… I bought quite a few awesome things and I did not break the bank. And it was so exciting to support people in my community.
I feel like it is shockingly hard to describe the vibe at Market Collective. There are hipsters, grandmas, young couples with babies, skateboarders… (In fact, there is a full-on, though little, skateboarding park right next to a kombucha stand.) It just feels like a welcoming, open-hearted place for everyone. You can buy vintage clothing, beard oil, yummy treats, and jewelry to fit any style you want.
This picture is… questionable (in terms of quality). But it gives you a bit of the vibe – you can see Ol’ Beautiful growlers on the left (yes, they were selling beer as well!), clothing in the foreground, and shoppers gathered around some cute jewelry in the background.
The best part? You still have an opportunity to hit up Market Collective next weekend (Dec 17-19)! I bet you still have some holiday shopping to do and supply chain lines are sketchy… shop local! It’s only $6 for the weekend and I bet you’ll love it.
No summary question here… just a rant
I’m only a very tiny blogger so I haven’t dealt with this much. Oh my god, its hard to take good pictures in public! I didn’t want to obviously get anyone’s face in the pictures. I didn’t want to linger at any stand for too long, because I wanted to let people see the wares. Ugh. I will get better but… not today, my friends. Not today.
Oh my gosh, I am for real sneaking this one in just under the wire. I have had a busy day of holiday baking, podcast recording, toddler babysitting, and sibling game night with very little time to write… and when I got home, I discovered that I had left my laptop at my siblings’ house. Luckily my brother Kevin was way, way too kind and rushed it over to me just in time.
And it’s mildly appropriate to today’s post because today’s post features pictures of my family!
The best picture is the one with the mildly creepy Santa that Kevin is totally not in, even though he probably should have been there. (Was he scared of creepy Santa? Probably.)
But anyway, today is not about the Santa pictures… today is about the beer.
Day 5! We’re nearing the halfway point of the beer exchange, which means we’re also inching ever closer to being halfway through Blogmas. (I realize I’m still three days away but… it’s fine, it’s fine, it’s totally fine. Haha.) As I mentioned in the Day 4 post, I finally decorated for the holidays and I really am beginning to feel festive. (It didn’t hurt that in the barre class I took yesterday morning had some solid Christmas music sprinkled throughout the playlist as well…)
Anyway, we are going a bit back in time here because it was on the day that I posted about Beer 4, that I drank… Beer 5.
I need to start this post with a little apology, before I start recounting the lovely brunch I had at Calgary’s River Cafe this past weekend. I am so sorry that I am only a medium blogger and literally forget to take pictures all the time. Hahaha.
Every December, my fantastic friends Claire, Kendra and I have a special festive get together. We even managed to pull it off last year, amid COVID restrictions, by watching a live streamed play “together” (but separately, in our individual homes) and getting ready “together” (over Zoom). This year, the restrictions allow us to see each other in person again! So we decided to mix it up a little with brunch at River Cafe!
River Cafe, located on Prince’s Island Park, looks and feels exactly like a little cabin tucked away in the woods. It is rustic, but high-end, with a seasonal menu that is dedicated to Canadian cuisine. And the best thing about going there for brunch?
The prices are super comparable to any other weekend brunch… but you get all the high-end luxury of being in the beautiful setting. Look at that cutlery! (And the not pictured snow, lightly falling by the window. Like something out of a gosh-darn fairy tale… if only this mediocre blogger had taken a picture…)
We hold the belief that brunch isn’t brunch without mimosas so, of course, we ordered their take on the brunch classic. The Island Fizz – prosecco and Okanogan fruit juice! (If it’s real fruit juice, it can’t be bad for you, right?)
Speaking of brunch needs – I almost always go for Eggs Benedict, especially if there is a smoked salmon option. Of course, River Cafe puts a local twist on an old classic. Under that beautiful Hollandaise was a delicious cured artic char and under the artic char was a roasted garlic and rosemary biscuit. So, so good! (However, a part of me kind of wanted some basic chunky roasted hashbrowns… though the potato rösti was definitely delicious. I’m just basic sometimes.)
Here’s an important holiday question for you! Which do you prefer – a holiday brunch or holiday bar?
Yes yes yes! Today is December 7th (which means I’ve officially made it a week into Blogmas without losing my mind or missing a day) and today is another day for ye old beer exchange. And today is a very very exciting day because…
… I decorated for Christmas today!
I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to find the energy to do it this year! The past two weeks have been crazy busy and it’s been hard to have the energy to do much else other than write and watch Vlogmas videos when I’m home. But I wasn’t called for rehearsal today and I have a friend coming over to watch a festive video tomorrow, so I was inspired!
I probably won’t post about how I decorate – I don’t have a ton of decorations because my place isn’t huge and I don’t live alone. Unless that’s something y’all want?
Anyway, today’s post is not about decorations… it’s about Beer 4!
It’s an odd numbered day, so y’all know what that means on this girl’s march towards Christmas… another reveal of another beer from the holiday beer exchange! (And if you squint reaaaaallly hard, you can get an insider look at the nonsense notes I take for MOA. I usually handwrite them because I love notebooks but I just wanted to make it legible for you today.)
This beer came courtesy of friend of the blog, Claire, and she was pretty open with me that she just picked it for the label. What is this beautiful label? Did this method of picking a beer work? Follow me through the “Read More” page break (#nospoilers) to find out…