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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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 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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Beer Exchange Day 3

You know what’s super fun about doing the Beer Exchange instead of an advent calendar

The community! (You’ll notice this is going to be an on-going theme throughout Blogmas this year. Community, surrounding myself with people, is just what I’m looking for in this season of my life.) As I write this post, we’re all typing away in our group chat, discussing the beers by number and not name so there’s no spoilers. The conclusion from everyone who has experienced Beer 3 so far is that it is a whole lot of beer in one single tall can.

No, we didn’t get to have the kick-off party, but we’re still a team and that’s so cool. There are a couple things that we took away from our years in our homes that are, like, not the worst. (Look, I know that is the most tepid statement ever, but I said what I said.)

Beer 3 Wrapped

So why don’t we just move onto Beer 3 instead? You know what to do… follow me on through the cut.

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The Best Holiday Punch Recipe (also the easiest)

Holiday Punch image
Photo by Elena Leya on Unsplash

Oh my gosh, you guys, the holiday activities have been filling every little inch of my life recently. Which is why I’m writing this post at a casual 11 pm, very chill posting time. Normal choices. If you read yesterday’s post, you kind of have an idea of what I’ve been up to. I did, in fact, do all of those things listed in that opening spiel. Plus, Claire and I headed over to ONE18 Empire for fancy Old Fashioneds and truffle everything after our show. (This is the go to place in Calgary if you want a smoky Old Fashioned.) And then I recorded Mystery, Outsiders, and Abs. Okay, that last one isn’t festive, but still it added to the very full vibe of my life right now. I’m sure many of you are in the same place… which is why I want to share something that might make your life a little bit easier.

The Best Holiday Punch Recipe

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Home Alone Taproom Pop-Up at Eighty-Eight (and Day 7 of the Advent Calendar)

What’s up, y’all! It’s T-minus 11 days until Christmas, Hanukkah is starting at nightfall on Sunday, Kwanzaa in 12 days, and numerous other celebrations are popping up all over the place. Time is just racing now and, here in the holiday of Blogmas, we’re already at another beer on the beer advent calendar.

I don’t have a particularly interesting story about what I did while drinking this beer (and it’s one that I’m familiar with, so no fun beer facts to discover)… so instead I’m going to talk about something super cool that is happening at the Eighty-Eight taproom during these upcoming busy 11 days. 

Home Alone Taproom Pop-Up at Eighty-Eight Brewing

Home Alone Taproom Pop-up

Yesss, that’s right! Kevin McAllister, the Wet Bandits, and all your favourite Home Alone easter eggs have settled in at Eighty-Eight and it is truly epic. The amount of work they must have put in to transform this space (which is always pretty stunning) is truly incredible. Like… look up there! They re-created the flight board! 

Every inch of the space is covered in wrapping paper, presents, and other Home Alone related Easter Eggs. I mean, there are cardboard figure cutouts up against the second floor windows, so that when you are outside it looks like there is a party on, in classic Kevin McAllister fashion. And if that’s not enough, there is a full-on Home Alone Easter Egg scavenger hunt to keep you busy!

Home Alone Taproom Pop-Up Menu

Oh yeah, they’ve also made some little changes to the menu. The Wet Bandits – not just movie villains, but also a super intense beer. It’s a Triple IPA, with a 10.1% ABV and an 88 IBU. Yes, I am scared of it, thank you. For those like me who can’t commit to a full 10% beer, they are also offering Marv and Harry pre-set flights. 

And they’ve really committed to the bit by giving their menu a little visual makeover too. Look! The cheese pizza is renamed. We love commitment to a theme. (As a quick note, I hit up Eighty-Eight with Claire and Megan the other day to enjoy some brews and pizza. The cheese pizza is amazing.)

Omg, I still have a whole beer to reveal here! I promise, I’ll keep it quick. 

Day Seven Clue

Day Seven’s clue read “Relax, put down the work, it’s holiday time”. Hmmm..

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Miracle on 1st Street (Proof) – Pop-up Holiday Bar

Readers from last year’s Blogmas will remember that I truly love a pop-up holiday bar. I love kitsch, I love special drinks, I love a theme – how could I not be head over heels for a pop-up? Last year, I was all about the tiki drinks but this year Claire and I decided to go a little bit more upscale and check out the Miracle on 1st Street pop-up at Proof!

I forgot to take any pictures of the decor, so thank goodness for being able to embed instagram posts!

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Eighty-Eight Beer Advent Calendar – Day Two

Christmas Decorations

It’s beginning to feel a lot like the holiday season! Sometimes, when you don’t have kids who are getting hyped for the holidays, it can be hard to inspire yourself to decorate seasonally. (Okay, when I say “sometimes”, I mean “sometimes for me”. I know there are a lot of fantastic single ladies out there who are very into changing their decor when the seasons change. But I fear change, so it is not me.) 

But! I publicly announced that I needed to declutter my living room this weekend, which meant that I was very shamed into actually doing it. And once I was already moving things around, I might as well decorate. And by “decorate”, I mostly mean “put Christmas balls on surfaces”. I like to optimize the little decor I have. And I also like sparkly things.

And I also like enjoying a beer from my advent calendar while I’m haphazardly decorating! 

Day Two Clue

Day 2 Clue

The Day Two clue read “Just wanna have fun”. 

I actually just spent an evening at Eighty-Eight with friends of the blog, Megan and Claire, and I know they have a really fantastic seasonal White Wine Spritzer IPA called “Cyndi”…

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Brunch at the River Cafe

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.

River Cafe in the Winter
Picture 100% not courtesy of me, because I am a medium blogger. It is directly from River Cafe and on Saturday, it looked a lot like this. Only much greyer and also it was actively snowing. So maybe it’s better that I use their picture.

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?

River Cafe Brunch Menu

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…)

Island Fizz

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?)

Artic Char Eggs Benedict

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?

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Beer Exchange Day 3

Holiday Beer Exchange Day 3

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…

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