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…
OMG, it’s Blogmas Day Four and guess who is doing festive things out in the world this holiday season!? (It’s me. Obviously.) Last night, some dear friends from my Masters program and I threw on our best holiday sweaters, braved the newly cold December weather and hit up the Sippin’ Santa pop-up Holiday bar!
Don’t get me wrong, friends. I like a glass of wine just as much as the next totally independent and productive grown woman. (Side comment: I’m trying not to say “girl” as much these days. I’ve been trying for like a year though, so you can imagine how well it’s going.) I like to learn about wine. I like the ritual of selecting a bottle from my bar. I like having a special drink at the end of the day. But my pocketbook, internal organs and cognitive functions are not always there for a wine. And that is where this post comes in – the best mocktail for this holiday season!
And by “holiday season”, I mean “zooming with friends from our own homes while wearing fancy clothes”. Yet another reason to maybe not always reach for the wine.
(“Two Gentlemen of Verona” Poster Image, as always, lovingly stolen from Theatre Calgary. Their site is always adding more incredible, informative material about their shows, please take the time to explore it.)
First off: I probably should have written about this show a month again. Actually, if I were really good at my job, I would have seen the show early in it’s run and written an actual review to actually encourage my readers to go see it. But long-time readers know that’s not what I’m here for. I’m here for ruminating on things for far too long and then vomiting my thoughts about important theatre onto this blog. And today? The #importanttheatre that I’m talking about is #ShakesBow‘s production of Two Gentlemen of Verona.
I feel like sometimes when I write about theatre topics (especially some of the more serious ones like fear in theatre or auditioning for shows), the most important thing about why we do theatre doesn’t come across. Creating something is fun. It’s scary and exhausting and hard work, but it’s also fun. I find theatre especially remarkable because it is a collaborative creative experience, when so much creation is very solitary. Recently, someone commented to me they enjoyed doing musicals more than straight plays because they found that the cast bonded better during musicals.
I keep thinking I skipped writing about No-Spend Week Three and I’ve messed up – and then I realize that I’m currently in Week Four and April has just been a bit of a runaway blur. I still have over a week left! I should be less smug about “no-spend”.
Truth time: I bought a set of chairs and a new couch last week. (Note: Couch was bought on my mom’s HBC credit card so she can get points and I will be reimbursing her when the bill comes due, so not until May.)
This is literally the opposite of “No Spend”.
But hear me out! I’ve been looking for a new living room set since last summer. Despite being a fully functional adult and actually having a pretty cute house, I’ve never actually picked out my own, new furniture and bought it. Right around January, I picked out the chairs I liked at Ikea and the couch/chaise I loved at The Bay. Since then, I’ve just been waiting for a good price and, coincidentally, Ikea had a living room sale and The Bay put their couches on sale for 55% off, which is the best sale I’ve seen since the summer.
So, since this spend was from savings, it’s something that I would have spent a ton more on if I waited until May and it was mindful… I think it fits into the philosophy of “No-Spend April”.
This week also contained my pre-selected social outing – it was my friend’s 30th birthday and his girlfriend planned a whole surprise day for him (board game café, beer and chip tasting, Escape Room, Pin Bar). To be honest, I originally wasn’t going to go. I even texted her and was like “Ugggh, it’s No Spend Month!” And then I thought about it. About how I would probably regret it if I missed it, about how I shouldn’t be an anti-social shut in, about how I had budgeted myself one night out this month. And about how, really, life is about moderation and normally I would go out every weekend and have so many self-dates so I was still doing better. So I went and it was so much fun and so good to see my friends.
The No Spends
Groceries were $23 this week and I’m just killing it.
Maybe because I did purchase my new living room set this week (though it won’t be moving in until early June), but this month really isn’t feeling like a No Spend Month anymore. Not in that I’m spending a ton, but I’m just not feeling deprived, which is what I expected. It’s really just about making better choices about what I’m spending my money on and focusing on my goals.
I think I’m going to continue with a No Spend May (I have waaaaay too much stuff in my pantry still that I need to cook through), excluding a shopping day with Claire for my upcoming Vegas trip. I have finally found a roommate that I like, who will be moving in for May, which means a little help on the household expenses, but I don’t want to be going too wild just because of that. Gotta save for the future. Be the ant and not the grasshopper and all that.
I am two days behind on the challenge and I am totally okay with that. I am getting so much better at finding the space in my day and prioritizing my yoga. 30 days to make a habit, right?
It’s recap time! Because we’re one week into No Spend April already. WOO! Week One! (Also, I totally didn’t take pictures of my meal prep this week. Hopefully that’s not actually something you want.)
Blah blah blah, mortgage, cell phone, condo fees property tax… who cares? Let’s get down to the things I can control!
1. My gas gamble didn’t work – gas went up by four cents and I had to fill up this weekend. Meh. 2. Groceries only cost $19 this week! I have a rice and bean recipe that I am obsessed with and my pantry was already stocked with carrots, peas, onion and rice so I mostly just made a huge batch of that and then supplemented with some burrito bowl fixings. Delicious. 3. … I went to the Make It Market with my mom on Saturday and spent $40.
You Spent $40!?
Calm down, internet. I spent $40 and I don’t feel bad about it. I bought a one-of-a-kind art piece, created by a local artisan. For about six months, I’ve been trying to put together a wall in my kitchen – it currently has a chalkboard and a canvas print on it and I really want to hang up a corkboard that I already have for organizational purposes. However, this wall needs a something else to help balance the proportions… and I finally found something! After months of looking! I can finally not have my corkboard just leaning up against my wall in my kitchen.
I feel fine with this purchase because it was conscious and mindful. In months of looking, I hadn’t found anything I liked and I spent a ton of time weighing out the purchase before making it while at the Market. (I also didn’t buy any craft distilled liquors or tiny rings like I vaguely wanted to, so… winning.)
The No Spends
I know, that’s not an actual phrase, but I’m using it.
One of my biggest expenses is eating out. Part of it is that I love trying out new restaurants, with or without other people, but another part of it is just habit. I used to travel for work and I got super used to sitting at the bar in a restaurant with a book and a glass of wine to unwind. I got super used to grabbing a Chopped Leaf bowl on my way home from the gym because it was quick and healthy, and I was starving. Like I wrote about the tuna melt last week, a lot of what I did was just so easy and relatively inexpensive… but easy and inexpensive adds up, yo!
Right now, I think I’m still riding on the high of being oh so virtuous. It feels good to clear out my pantry and to go home to eat the meals I prepped. (Note: Old!Erin would totally have prepped meals and still gone out to eat anyway… that’s why it’s nice to have the “challenge” element to lean on.)
Oh my gosh, you guys, I am loving the Yoga With Adriene TRUE challenge. It reminds me a bit of being back in university and getting in touch with all the elements of myself – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. I will note: I don’t recommend this challenge if you just want to “work out”. Though there are definitely some challenging physical elements, this is really about developing a yoga practice and figuring out what it means to you.
I did miss a day of the challenge – on Friday, I spent the night at my parents’ house, having a railway night (long story), and then I spent a day out with my mom on Saturday, going straight to my Saturday night plans. I had thought I’d be home by 10 pm or so, then being able to unwind with a little yoga, but that was not to be. In an amazing moment of kismet, Adriene actually spoke about how we have to develop our own practice, how it make take some of us longer than 30 days to complete the challenge and how we have to celebrate ourselves… during the session I wasn’t able to complete on Saturday and ended up doing on Sunday night. How perfect!