Beer Exchange Day 2

Everyone. My life has been so chaotic recently, I am so delighted for every bit of consistency I can scrape up. And writing on this blog every day? (For literally 4 days?) Having the beers for the beer exchange? It’s little, but it makes me feel so good. 

And you know what else makes me feel good? Recording Mystery, Outsiders and Abs

My and Kevin’s teen drama brains have been filled with Riverona and we had no energy for good Shadowhunters goofs. (That said, you should definitely donate to our Riverona IndieGoGo campaign to bring this Romeo and Juliet teen drama parody to the stage. Fans of MOA know Kevin and I are clever and can write a better show than Riverdale…) Anyway, we have brains back and we are ready to record our podcast, and you know what that means?

Beer 2, wrapped (games table in background)

It means Beer 2!

Sort of. Follow me through the cut to figure out what I mean by that…

Girl. What did you mean and what is Beer 2?

Okay. Here’s the thing. My dad and my brother Bryan both volunteered to be a part of the beer exchange this year. And my dad got super excited about the opportunity for all of us to spend time together, so he bought some different beers that we could enjoy while we all wrapped our beer exchange beers together. Which means we all know which beers each other selected.

So we made it still a bit of a mystery in the only way we knew how. We all wrapped our beers in the same wrapping paper and, while we numbered them for others, we didn’t number the beers we kept for ourselves. There was still some mystery!

Today, I pulled one of the Weir Beers to enjoy while recording MOA. It was meant to be my beer, Beer 2… but I actually pulled Bryan’s beer.

And it was delish.

Beer 2, unwrapped - Zero Issue Innsmouth (games table in background)

Bryan selected the Zero Issue Innsmouth sour. I always get Zero Issue and New Level confused because they both have cool, nerdy branding and good sours. (Remember a couple years ago when I was obsessed with getting to try the New Level dill pickle beer? Ugh. Classic Erin.) I still couldn’t tell you that I could articulate the difference… but what I can tell you, is that Innsmouth was delicious.

If you all know my beer taste, you know I love sours. Innsmouth is a passionfruit-mango sour with a ABV of 4.8% and an unknown IBU (though it’s definitely low). The taste is not surprising, but it’s infinitely drinkable. It is a classic, fruit-forward, kettle sour that I feel like really represents what Alberta sours taste like. It was the perfect drink to enjoy without food while I rambled for an hour!

So I have to ask – and maybe I have before – but do you love sours?

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Great Gift Gambits: a Flimsy Approach to Secret Santa Success

Hello and happy to Day 3 of Blogmas, my friends! It is very late on this Sunday and I just spent almost an hour on the phone with my mom, trying to decipher a financial spreadsheet. (In case you didn’t guess, that is so not my sort of thing.) And suddenly it’s 9pm and I need to write a post, so I’m including you in my most recent stress spiral: what Secret Santa gift should I buy for my male coworker that I’ve literally spoken to thrice?

Right!? Last year we did a White Elephant style exchange and all I had to worry about was bringing something cute that most people like! (Spoiler: I brought a selection of local shower steamers and soaps. Big winner.) But this year we decided to do Secret Santa gifts! And the pressure is on! I have to pick something personalized!?

Drawing of a Secret Santa making a "shush" sign while holding a present

Ugh. So here are the things that I’m up to while I’m not at all stressed out about doing a cool and festive thing that I signed up for in my workplace.

First – I’m Not a Secret Santa, I’m a Sherlock Holmes

I mean, why wouldn’t I grab a magnifying glass and a deerstalker hat, stalking around my office on a mission to decode my coworker’s mysteries. Desperation will obviously ensue. Mostly because this elusive male coworker has a private office so I can’t stalk his desk for clues.

I do know that he usually has candy on his desk and he thinks that it’s not healthy to reheat food in plastic tupperware. So that’s something.

Maybe I Can Just Go Generic

When in doubt, stick to the classics – it’s the golden rule of Secret Santa survival. Quirky desk accessories, cozy socks, or a coffee mug. Now… I don’t know if this person drinks coffee nor have I ever seen his socks, because, unlike me, he doesn’t wander the office without shoes on.

One of us is classy and one of us is writing a blog post about our stress. 

Erin, You Love Astrology Though, Right!?

Fair. I do have a balance tattoo on my left ribs. And I also think that the fact that I’m a Libra makes me good at Survivor. (Don’t come at me with your facts! I exist on vibes, not reality!) Which means I could definitely use astrology to figure out the best gift for my coworker based on his sign.

Do I know his sign?


Does this guide seem mostly directed towards women?


The Stealthy Survey

Okay, yes. I get it. Over the next week (because Secret Santa is on Dec 13), it is time to channel my inner spy. I need to enlist the help of office allies, subtly interrogate coworkers, or, if all else fails, maybe just panic and buy this guy some glassware.

Final Thoughts

Honestly, it’s not that serious. I’m prone to overthinking at all times, but this gift will truly be a blip in the grand scheme of things and it’s the thought that counts. 

But I may try to bust into this person’s office on a very important work-related mission on Monday… and also kind of survey his workspace at the same time.

(Note: It’s late and I asked ChatGPT to write a conclusion to this post, thinking I could use it for inspiration. What it wrote is so not my vibe but also so very endearing that I have to let it stand. How does one cite AI appropriately?)

As you embark on your Secret Santa mission, dear reader, remember that even if your gift is as mismatched as office furniture, it’s the thought (and the chuckles) that count. Share your own tales of Secret Santa triumphs or misadventures in the comments below, and let the office gift-giving games begin! May the odds be ever in your favor, or at least flimsily close.

(Ha! Right?! I am obsessed. But also, please do let me know your Secret Santa thoughts, because I need HELP.)

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Beer Exchange Day 1

Heeeey friends! Guess what is back, back, backpack again in the year of our Lord 2023? (And, yes, there might be a backpack involved.) My dear friend Megan is not laid up with a broken ankle this year and that means it’s time for a Beer Exchange!!!

Yes! A Beer Exchange! One of those fun things that you hear people talking about but no one ever really pulls together – 12 people each choose a local beer to buy 12 tall boy cans of and then we all take one of each beer. Plus the beers are wrapped up, so we have no idea what we are drinking. It is fun and festive and more social than buying an advent calendar. I am psyched

I love doing things with my friends.

And having content for my blog.

So you probably guessed what today’s post is all about – it’s about the first beer from the Beer Exchange! And, not just that, we had a kickoff party with a few of our participants so this post is also about that. Woooooo!!!

Yes, that means that I am starting this post in the afternoon and will finish it when I return home from the party, potentially a bit tipsy. Because I don’t know what the first beer is yet and I will be enjoying it at the party with my friends. But don’t worry… as always, I will make you have to work for the reveal of what the first beer is. So follow me through the cut to find out what we had for Beer Exchange Day 1…

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Sleuth – Vertigo Theatre

On Theatre Thursdays, I discuss topics related to theatre. I also write about local productions that I think #yyc should see. Today I’m talking about one of the many holiday productions currently running – Sleuth

Sleuth Poster lovingly stolen from Vertigo Theatre. Photography credit to Tim Nguyen.
Poster lovingly stolen from Vertigo Theatre. Photography credit to Tim Nguyen.

My friends! Do you know what snuck up on me so quickly this year? December! And by “December”, I mean “Blogmas”.

My November was incredibly ambitious. I truly thought I would write every day during the month for Nanowrimo, chronicle what we were doing at Riverona rehearsals, actually produce/director/act in Riverona, and have a social life?! Oh Erin, you sweet summer child.

Blogmas seems easy in comparison. 

And it’s especially easy when I have a fantastic theatre production to kick the season off with… Vertigo Theatre’s production of Sleuth

So, What’s Sleuth all about?

Great question! Sleuth is a classic two-hander about power, control, and mystery. Eccentric mystery writer, Andrew Wyke (Christopher Hunt), invites his new neighbour  Milo (Brandon Griffiths), over to his isolated country home. That’s not a suspicious move at all, right? Just normal neighbourly things.

Except we discover extremely quickly that Milo has been carrying on an affair with Wyke’s (ex???)-wife. And you know any man in a play who writes mystery novels is definitely not going to do anything normal with that information… 

Sleuth is the ultimate cat-and-mouse play. Two clever men, exchanging witticisms and one-upping each other, leaving you wondering who ultimately has the power. Who has unraveled the other’s plans and will come up on top? Who will win the game?

Oh, and there’s also a woman in this play. For a little bit, at least. Helen Knight does fantastic work and is so fun, but she’s literally on stage for about 15 minutes.

Why should I see Sleuth?

Because any show that involves Christopher Hunt dancing is pure magic. (IFKYK, I’m a huge Chris Hunt fan and I’ve been talking about him dancing on the socials for years.) 

Chris and Braden are both powerhouse performers and they can carry the show, even if I joke about Helen being the token woman. (But honestly! Helen does a great job! The show just doesn’t give her a ton to do which is truly too bad. And there is a reveal with her character that I don’t super love – I think it very much lives in it’s 1970s home.)

Two-handers can often feel swallowed up by a large stage or get stagnant, but Cherissa Richards’ direction keeps the show active and engaging. The two actors fill the beautiful stage designed by Andy Moro. (Two levels! There are two levels! I love a set with stairs!)

Final Thoughts

This is maybe the weirdest thing I have ever said – Sleuth was really well done and I really liked it and I also was a little bit bored. 

At one point during the script, they mention Amelia Peabody and I spent so much time wondering if that was a time period appropriate reference. (Amelia Peabody is one of my very favourite fictional female detectives who 100% deserves a film or stage adaptation which she hasn’t yet gotten. So I’m also very biased.)

But the performances are also so good and it was so engaging. Maybe I’m over-simplifying it, but I think the script is just a bit wordy for my taste. (I know. I literally write a blog, which is only words.) So, if you love character and dialogue-driven theatre that is on the lighter side, this is the show for you. The best thing about theatre is that taste is personal, we don’t all rave over the same things, we don’t all get distracted over the same things. 

You should see this show and decide for yourself. Tell me why I’m basic, beauties. 

I’m in! How do I see it?

Well, I’m glad you asked! The show runs until December 17th and tickets can be purchased by visiting their website or calling (403) 221 3708. Do it, yo!

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Five Days of At Home Online Workouts

Alright, my friends. It is already December 23 and things are about to get cozy. The weather in Calgary has actually improved (slightly), but I don’t really think that matters. Ultimately, the weather outside is frightful and the fire is so delightful. So instead of going to the gym or pilates studio, we are all dying for ways we can stay active at home. And, as your non-fitness girl who wants to talk to you about fitness things, I took a hit for the team. I did at home workouts for a week so that I could tell you what was worth it and what you should be doing in your living room.

A few little comments – all the workouts I did were free, youtube videos. There are tons of subscription services out there, especially after COVID where all studios had to pivot to online offerings, but I decided to focus this post on free stuff. I am sure so many of you have passes to your regular studios… but you’re looking for something different to fill your time right now. Maybe you’re out of town. Maybe it’s just too much to drive somewhere away from home. Don’t worry. I got you!

Generally speaking, I tried to do a 45-min to 1-hr long workout. This meant I usually ended up doing more than one video per channel. If I did more than one, I usually tried to do something more cardio-heavy and then something more strength-heavy so that I had a range of workouts. 

And, without further ado, here are my thoughts on the five channels I interacted with during my week of at home workouts.

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Eighty-Eight Beer Advent Calendar – Beer Eleven

I learned how to adjust my desk chair at my office today! I’ve been in this office for a few weeks, but it still feels like “not mine” – this small little change has made such a difference towards making me feel like I have ownership over the space I work within. And just in time for the holiday break, lol. Classic Erin moment. 

Today’s blog post is not about classic Erin moments. (Though… that might not be a terrible idea for the future?) Today’s post is about the second last beer of my Eighty-Eight beer advent calendar. How are we already here!? 

I will take a moment to reflect on the experience before I move into the beer. I do think it was well worth the money ($88, naturally) and I appreciated the opportunity to try new beers at a place I am familiar with but have a “go to” beer. I think next year, if there is no beer exchange, I will buy another advent calendar. However, I think I would be more likely to buy one of the ones from a liquor store so I could be exposed to new breweries as well. 

All that to say… onto the beer!

Day Eleven Clue

Beer Eleven clue

The Day Eleven clue read “Don’t forget the water wings”. Well, I had a pretty good idea of what this one might be – could it be the classic “Wave Pool”?

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Finding the Balance Between Routine and Grace

Welcome to Day 22 and the last Wellness Wednesday before the holidays kick in full tilt. I don’t know about you, but I have plans pretty much every night between now and the 25th. Some nights, even more than one plan. Life is full, y’all. Today I made it home by 7:30pm, I enjoyed a bowl of the soup I made yesterday and I got to wrapping the presents I need prior to Christmas Eve. I did not wrap the presents that I need on Christmas Eve. I gave myself that grace. And that’s what today’s post is all about – routine and grace.

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Eighty-Eight Beer Advent Calendar – Day Ten

Day 20 tortilla soup!

Today is a very special night. This blogmas post is being written in real time. Like, I’m still drinking the Day 10 beer as I write it. It is incredibly cold out in Calgary – like this insane frigid air from Siberia, aka the coldest air on earth, has swept in. I was lucky enough to work from home today and, despite a dream of going to barre at 5:15 tonight, I am officially hibernating. 

Tonight is a night for soup, Hallmark movies, and the Day 10 Beer.

Day Ten Clue

Beer Ten Clue

The Day Ten clue read “Just in case you’re all alone.” And boy, oh boy, was I able to guess which beer it was!!

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Favourite Holiday Snacks

I have spent so much time this Blogmas talking about beverages that I have absolutely forgotten to talk about snacks! What am I even doing here?! I think we all know that the holidays are really all about the food. Latkes at Hanukkah, that Christmas Goose that is bigger than a small boy in The Christmas Carol, fancy cheeses everywhere. And snacks! You know… your favourite holiday snacks.

Like These Bars

peanut butter marshmallow squares - favourite holiday snacks

Okay, yes, those peanut butter marshmallow squares are a classic. (I will never forget the time that my coworker Gillian made these and, for whatever reason, all the peanut butter sunk to the bottom. It left a very light glaze on the rest of the marshmallows. Absolutely delicious, but very weird.)

Anyway, despite that complete non-sequitur in the parentheses, I am not talking about the baking and snacks that we make at home. Though those are great. What I am talking about is the special, seasonal versions of snacks that brands put out. Look, I wait all year for these delicious goodies. So here they are, my favourite holiday snacks.

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Eighty-Eight Beer Advent Calendar – Day Nine

Happy Day 18, everyone! I cannot believe how fast this month has gone by. This happens pretty much every month, I think, but I’m always surprised when it’s almost the 25th. (This is when I get paid. It’s not a Christmas reference. But also it is.)

Anyway, I must admit that I am a little bit burnt out. Nothing to do with blogmas, only to do with having too many fun things to get up to. If you read yesterday’s post, you can probably read between the lines that I left my house at 7:30 am on Friday and only returned home to sleep between then and 10 pm on Saturday.

Today was a very similar vibe – I left home at about 8:30 for Pilates at Junction 9, then headed directly over to my mom’s house for the annual holiday baking tradition. I followed that up with picking up some sushi from Kinjo Express, where they are always so lovely, then finally tried to grab some veggies for Christmas. (I was not super successful. I’m not paying $9 for snap peas and $6 for a cauliflower, thank you. I will follow the flyers and find a better price.)

Rylee helping baking

But look at how cute our little baking helper was! (She was helping by tearing apart a Toblerone box.)

Anyway, when I got home for the next two hours, I just read in the bath and then laid on my bed, scrolling on my phone. Which I literally never do. Like I said, burn out.

I finally rallied, though. I did slightly more meal prep than I expected to actually achieve at – vegan banana muffins for breakfasts and lentil quesadillas for lunches. And I washed my sheets. And now I’m writing a blog post. The world is my oyster, my friends. And speaking of oysters…

Day Nine Clue

Day 9 Clue

Actually, I’m not speaking of oysters at all. I’m just too tired for good transitions. So instead, please read the Day Nine clue which states “You deserve to sleep in”. This time I was pretty sure it was not Hammer Pants…

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