YYCEats

Blogmas 2021! Is that a thing? I don’t know.

Here’s the thing. I failed wildly at Nanowrimo this year. Like, to the point that it was good that I didn’t announce it because I would be embarrassed at my numbers. But, I had my Masters convocation, looked after Rylee for a week, got insanely sick for the first time in two years (not COVID) and got cast in a play. So I was doing all sorts of good things. But now that things have slowed down… now is the time to really work on developing a daily practice of writing, even without a set word count.

So, I’m going to do Blogmas! Like Vlogmas, but written down.

(Note: while writing this blog post, I actually bothered to google something and have determined that Blogmas is, in fact, a thing and that people still have blogs in 2021. This pleases me.)

I can’t guarantee that everything I write will actually be Christmas themed, which is apparently the point of the challenge, but it’s December and I’m writing and don’t complain, damnit!

Beer Exchange Day 1

Blogmas 2021 - Beer Exchange Day 1

Okay, here’s something fun and festive! This year, my amazing friend Megan organized a 12 Days of Christmas beer exchange. You know, a beer exchange. The thing where you get 12 people together and they each buy 12 of a different beer and wrap it up, then you have surprise 12 beers. It’s one of those things that people always talk about but no one actually gets organized. And that means that I have 12 fun different beers to write about throughout Blogmas (yes, that’s cheating but I don’t care, beverages is my brand).

For Day 1, Megan provided us with the Kinabik Pilsner from Snake Lake Brewing Company out of Sylvan Lake. To explain the name, which I absolutely love, here is the copy from the beer can:

Early settlers knew Sylvan Lake as Snake Lake, taken from the Cree name “Kinabik.” Garter snakes would swarm around its shores, especially at Jarvis Bay. As the human population grew, the snakes gradually disappeared. In 1903, the town’s name was officially changed to Sylvan Lake.

(Snake Lake Brewing Company, 2021)

I love the copy on alcoholic beverage containers – we used to have a whole bit about that on MOA.

I enjoyed this beer while watching Season 41 of Survivor (obsessed, totally Team Erika, loved the tribal council tonight). This was wildly appropriate because… snakes. (You know, snakes and rats? Survivor Borneo?)

The Kinabik is super drinkable, very crisp, and only a tiny bit hoppy. Just enough to give it a bit of complexity. It’s a 5% alcohol with a 25 IBU and those are the only stats I care about because I’m only a tiny bit knowledgeable about beer.

Megan tipped her hand that there were some very complex and a little crazy beers included in the 12. I’m excited about that, but I’m also always here for a solid Pilsner.


Apparently most people plan their Blogmas post calendar ahead of time and don’t just randomly decide to do it on the first of December. Hahaha. Classic Erin.

What sort of posts would y’all like to see in this Blogmas I did not plan? Do you have any special things lined up for your December?

Life

10 Things I've Learned as an Adult
Picture of me with a baby to demonstrate that I am, in fact, an adult not a child

I spend a lot… like a lot of time declaring myself to be a functional adult. (Usually while doing something I am trying to convince myself that I am qualified to do, like feed myself healthy meals or look after a baby.) However, now that I am solidly into my 30s… I think the time has come to not just accept that I’m a lot but to start to share the wisdom I’ve collected while making these sweeping declarations. So, without further ado, please enjoy a both serious and unserious list of the 10 things I’ve learned as an adult.

1) It is always faster to just throw together something for breakfast at home.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that it’s not nice to pick up breakfast sometimes. An Egg McMuffin on a road trip? Absolutely!

But it’s not actually faster. When you are pressed for time in the morning, you can always grab a piece of fruit or granola bar, eat something that isn’t normally breakfast food, throw some couscous and hot water into a tupperware and have a sad but filling meal ready in seconds. I fully support getting a Starbucks or Tim Hortons bagel when I want one, but I can no longer fool myself that I am saving time by doing that.

2) Making your bed will always make your bedroom look one million times better.

Several years ago, I wanted to prove to myself that I could build a positive habit and I decided to start with something simple – making my bed, throw pillows and all, every single day for a month, then a year and so on. (I think my impetus was the idea that if something takes less than 5 minutes to do, you should do it right away?)

Anyway – literally an immediate face lift to my room that takes less than 5 minutes.

3) Good quality chocolate actually does taste better than the cheap stuff.

I know, I hate that I’m this person now too.

But it’s true.

4) It literally costs you nothing to be kind.

Another version of this is “don’t yuck someone else’s yum”. If someone tells you that they like something you don’t?There’s no need to be cruel, tease them, tell them all the things that are wrong with that thing. In fact, you could actually even listen to them talk about this thing for a bit because it will probably make them feel good. It costs you nothing.

(There are other variations to this lesson like “asking about people’s day” and “holding the door for other people”, but for me learning how to engage with other people’s interests that I do not share has been such a game changer.)

5) Sometimes a backpack or a fanny pack is 100% better than a purse.

I mean, it helps that they are trendy now too but… seriously. Don’t hurt your back/shoulders for fashion.

This lesson was learned on the first day of my Masters degree when I walked from the hospital campus I work at to the main campus that my summer intensive was taking place on. 20 minute walk, no big deal, right?

Very big deal when you are carrying a laptop in a shoulder tote. I literally bought a backpack that night and I have never regretted it.

6) More people remember and recognize you than you expect.

We all have a bit of social awkwardness in us and, for me, it took the form of always assuming that people wouldn’t remember me when I ran into them on the street/at a play/across a crowded room, etc. More times than you would expect, I was wrong… and then these people who totally did remember me assumed that I was a snob who didn’t want to engage with them. Not great.

Now, to be fair… sometimes people don’t remember me. I changed my hair colour quite dramatically after university and I find that the blonde sometimes still takes people by surprise. But that’s okay, I now smile and wave (or in this age of mask-wearing “crinkle up my eyes and wave”) anyway. The worst thing that can happen is that they don’t remember me and either they think I’m super friendly or they figure out who I am and we have a moment.

7) Sleep masks are a gift from *insert gift-giving reference of choice here*

It’s absolutely okay to be a bit of a delicate flower and want to create an ideal sleeping situation. For a lot of us, utter darkness is part of that and I have become a huge fan of sleep masks to create that darkness. My favourite sleep masks are these because they don’t press or pull on the eyes, and you can often find them at Winners!

8) Three friends is a totally valid number of friends.

This is a bit of an oversimplification and also a reference to a certain time in 2016 when I took on a mantra of “I just need three more friends”. What I’m really saying is that you don’t need a zillion people that you regularly text, a massive group chat to keep track of or go on trips with 12 other people if that’s not what you want.

Fill your life with friendships that fit the size of friendship cup you have. Look for quality – people you can regularly turn to, who still want to hang out with you when you are in the less “fun” stages of your life, and who you can fall into a conversation with like no time has ever passed. It’s okay if that number is different for you than for other people!

9) Backup shoes are a “need to have”, not a “nice to have”.

Seriously. If you don’t bring back up shoes, you’re just going to end up wandering the streets or dancing in bare feet. It doesn’t matter how good you think you are in heels.

10) It’s okay to be a solid mixture of selfish and selfless.

To use another cup analogy – sometimes you have to fill your own cup first to make sure you even have anything left to share. And sometimes your cup is still full of water from the day before, so you can afford to share all your water with someone else.

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but it’s okay to put your own wants and needs first sometimes but not other times. It takes a lot of reflection and self-understanding really know which times are which, but you can put the time in and do it, babe!


So there you have it! 10 things I’ve learned as an adult… actually, I just learned something new this week.

Sometimes a cake is an obligation/task, not a gift.

10 things I've learned as an adult
This is too much cake.

So… there’s 10 things I’ve learned as an adult, plus one secret humblebrag!

Stuff About Me

Jan, also back again, Laughing - Drag Race All-Stars Season 6

No, my hair might not be purple, but I am fully laughing just as hard as Jan is in this classic Drag Race All-Stars 6 screencap. (And I promise not to get off track, but I truly do love and relate to Jan. Her need to always be on? It me. Plus, I too am backpack, backpack, back again.)

What the eff, how is it suddenly late October of 2021? Where have the past 8 months gone?

Well, I can tell you. They have gone to coping with a global health crisis (like many people), while working at a medical school full-time and completing a Master of Education degree full-time… at the same time. They have gone to figuring out how to write, facilitate and produce a completely Zoom-based play. And then they have gone towards literally doing nothing but watching Survivor and Drag Race or hanging out with friends outside for about two and a half months.

As you can likely imagine, I’ve been zonked creatively. Like many people, I have been living in a constant back and forth between chaos and recovery. And I fully recognize the irony that I wrote a post very similar to this back in September of 2020. How many times can one girl write a “I’m back!” post?

I’m a fully grown woman and this is the last “I’m back” post I will write. Hopefully. The time has come for consistency! Plus, I blew my Jan reference, so I have nothing left.

Anyway, in September 2020, I think I was a little bit unrealistic about how much room I truly had left to fill in my cup. But my cup is much emptier now! And I am slowly being able to do fun things in Calgary once again, in a very safe and mindful manner, which is what this blog is all about. I can write about things that aren’t books! Well… things that aren’t just books.

What a time to be alive! (… sort of)

So… yes, I’m backpack, backpack, back again. Watch this space for some random jokes and recaps of my adventures. I’m so excited! All I needed was this tiny post!

Stuff About Me

Ugh. Really? That’s the title I’m picking for this post? “I’m Back, BAY-BEE”? I mean, I am back, this is a wildly accurate statement, but yikes on bikes! (Yikes on Bikes is also not a great thing for me to write… this is all starting to make me sound like I’m a mom who is not at all cool but thinks they are cool. Sorry, non-existent children.)

Okay, let’s start again.

I’m Back, Blogging Again!

(Using commas wildly since 1986.)

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Stuff About Me

Erin laying on a bed, engaged in reflection

On this day, this day just following one of the most reflective and challenging Yin yoga classes I’ve ever taken, and the last day of 2018, indulge me in a little bit of reflection. Let’s talk about how this year has gone by so quickly, as years seem to the older I get, but also how this single year feels like it has taken ten years to pass. Last January feels like eons ago.

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Fitness

In a shocking turn of events, I’m delayed writing up my Week Two Recap and it’s already Wed, Oct 31. Halloween! I’m a deer! (If I get a cute picture and not just a poorly lit picture in my office, I’ll post it on the A Flimsy Plan insta.) With this spoooooky season coming to a close, let’s hit up another recap of my Fit Girls journey! (Syntax? What’s syntax? I’m not fixing that sentence!)

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Fitness, Life

If there’s one thing my readers know about me, it’s that I’m an actress. Oh no, wait, that’s not what this post is about… Let’s start over. If there’s one thing my readers know about me, it’s that I love challenges. Challenges are essentially the only way I actually achieve anything in life because I truly thrive on external validation. (Hashtag, maybe not the best quality? Hashtag love yourself?) Anyway, today is a not a deep dive into my psyche, today is a recap of the first week of my most recent challenge – Fit Girls Guide‘s 28 Day Jumpstart.

Challenges are the Only Way I Ever Achieve Anything
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Culture

Wicked
Here’s a fun picture of the time I did Popular for a talent show thing in high school. In my defense, it was 2003-2004 and incredibly timely and not overdone at that point. Musicals!

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.

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Life

LOLOL, guess who didn’t do a final wrapup for their No Spend April challenge?

Classic Erin. New blog series = the flimsiest of plans.

Short version = despite spending an inordinate amount of savings on new couches/chairs, No Spend April went pretty well. I didn’t continue it into May, but I am certainly more mindful of the spending and I am planning (as I do every summer) to have a Frugal!Summer. Maybe this summer it will actually work?

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Life

Week Three

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”.

The Spends

  • 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.

The Yoga

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?