CELEBRATING WITH FRIENDS

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I’ve been back in Calgary for a little over a week now, and boy have I ever been busy. It wasn’t until two days ago that I had a little time in the morning to sit down, kick back, watch a little TV (some French movies that we watched in class in Jr. High) and catch up on everything Internet-related. Until then, I had been running around either baking, going to the gym, planning parties or working. It has been insane to say the very least.


My Christmas party went quite well, all things considered. I managed to get all of the baking done, and most of the actual cooking for the dinner itself. Decorating was way above me, and I ended up leaving things as my mother had done before my arrival. I had planned on setting up a sort of photo booth, as they seem to be popping up all over blogs, and seemed like a lot of fun. This too, was left until the very last minute, and I had a couple of my guests set something up literally minutes before everyone else’s arrival. Little nit-picky things like this are what I consider to have gone wrong for this dinner, but of course they are no one’s fault but my own. The dinner itself went quite well. It was really nice to see everyone again. It’s nice to know that even if it’s proving to be difficult to keep in touch while we’re all away at school, we still have this dinner to look forward to in order to get us all together again.

UGLY SWEATER HOLIDAY COCKTAIL PARTY

This post is late. Weeks late. I promised a video would be made before writing this up, but it's just not going to happen. I've let myself down a bit in terms of my aptitude with technology. Unfortunately, I can't figure out Final Cut for the LIFE of me, and I haven't had time to reaaaally immerse myself in it. For now (at least), the photos will have to suffice.
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What a gloomy way to start a post about something that was so much fun! My roommate and I spent the day doing a bit of Christmas decorating around the house. Everything that we used was either homemade or from the dollar store (we tried to find the least tacky decorations). I baked up some treats for our guests. This time around I decided to keep things classic and simple by making cupcakes: Gingerbread and Peppermint, plus a whole whack of gingerbread cookies and icing to decorate during the party.

As it was a cocktail party, we had each of our guests bring a different type of liquor to mix some drinks. On the menu were Peppermint Martinis, "Green Elf's" (the seasonal variation of a Grasshopper), Cran-Vanilla Martinis (cranberry instead of raspberry, as shown in the photo) and Black Velvet. They were all really yummy, although some more than others. I really enjoyed the Peppermint Martini, which was VERY strong, but super yummy when paired with a candy cane rimmer. I heard the Black Velvet was pretty darn smashing too.

We spent the evening listening to Christmas music, decorating gingerbread cookies, playing silly drama games and laughing away. In a way it felt a bit like a PG evening, but then of course I had to remember that it was actually a cocktail party. Not so PG. I'm so used to party's being big and extreme, so it was really nice to host and partake in something a bit more intimate.

All in all, the party was a huge success (I would say). It was so nice to meet my roommates classmates and friends. They all seem like amazing people! So much fun, for sure.

I wore a skater dress, polka dot tights and wedges from Urban Outfitters, sheer vintage blouse and holiday vest, and a bow headband from Le Chateau.

PUMPKIN PICKING

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I’m trying to squeeze in the last of my Halloween related posts... I’m sure after that things will start to get real quiet around here again. Regardless, last weekend I went to a Galey’s Farms with some friends to pick pumpkins. The whole thing was pretty legit as far as the actual patch goes - they had hay rides to take you out to the patch and pumpkins as far as the eye could see. This particular day it had been raining all morning, so things were quiet wet and mucky. The rest of the farm was a little bit of a tourist trap I found, but I suppose that’s what it’s meant to be. They had a miniature train ride around the farm, face painting (I sadly didn’t get anything done), a haunted house, etc. We got out pumpkins and were on our way. After visiting the farm, we went to Ross Bay Cemetery as per my roommates request. We were discussing “Halloween related things to do,” and somehow visiting a cemetery in the middle of the day seemed to be the operative choice. The actual cemetery was really pretty, as far as they go. I was entranced by all of the cool ass trees. The cemetery is located just off Dallas Rd., and right next to the ocean. I often forget that I live on an island and that the beach is so incredibly close.

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This weekend we got down to carving our pumpkins. Time with the family! I made dinner (I'll feature later this week), we watched Rocky Horror and Hocus Pocus and carved our pumpkins. I did mine of Dr. Frankenfurter from Rocky Horror. See a resemblance? It's the first pumpkin that I've ever carved, so I'm pretty happy with how it turned out!

THANKSGIVING IN CALGARY: HERITAGE PARK, MAYA'S BIRTHDAY

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Thanksgiving. Canadian Thanksgiving to be more exact. A time to celebrate a bountiful harvest by stuffing our faces with dead bird, starchy potatoes and tasty, tasty pumpkin pie. ...Or something like that. This year I learned (or relearned - I’m not too sure) that the Canadian Thanksgiving actually began when some explorer dude accidentally ended up in somewhere in Greenland and was greeted by some friendly indigenous peoples known as Inuits. He held a celebration to give thanks for the food and the safe journey. While this may be the origin of Thanksgiving, I’m pretty sure I’ve never celebrated it with the colonist in mind. 

What is it then that I celebrate every year? To be honest, up until this year I’ve only recognized Thanksgiving for the meal. Boy oh boy do I ever love Thanksgiving dinner. Growing up it was the turkey, my Grandma’s stuffing and cranberry sauce that really got me. Since I’ve made the transition to vegetarian I haven’t gotten to enjoy any of those things (except for the cranberries) for many years, but I appreciate all of the other things on a whole other level now. Squash of every kind in various different forms, Tofurkey, pumpkin pie...Mmm. Thanksgiving dinner is a good’er for sure. 

 I feel a little guilty for having thought that of Thanksgiving as just a really great meal (or two, or three depending on the year). This year was different though. I imagine it has a lot to do with living away from home for the first time. It’s made me really, truly appreciate my friends, and definitely my family. Growing up I never got along very well with my family. My brother was an annoying little twerp and my parents were a barrier in my teenage quest of rebellion. I made a point of distancing myself from them. Now that I am so far away from them I am realizing how much I appreciate them! It’s a strange thing I suppose, because of course you care for your family even if you do have some problems, but often times you don’t realize just how much. This goes for my extended family too. Family dinners were never really my thing. It meant a lot of being drilled about school or work or sitting in silence for a couple of hours, which as a teenager who thought she was pretty cool and important, I was not too down for. The last year or so that sentiment has completely changed as well, and now I’m more bummed if these gatherings aren’t held and I don’t get to catch up with my family. 

A new addition to my family’s Thanksgiving celebration is that of my cousins birthday! Little Maya turned two this year! Two may not be a very big number, but I still can’t believe how quickly the time has gone. We started off the day at Heritage Park. We spent a few hours there before heading home to cook (two apple pies and a butternut squash salad), and finally going to my grandparents house for dinner. It was really great to spend the day with family. I am definitely thankful.

THANKSGIVING IN CALGARY: THE CORN MAZE

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While in Calgary, I got to truly celebrate the season. Fall in all it’s magnitude. Although Fall is my favorite season, I suppose the idea of “Fall” is somewhat romanticized. I’ve got this great image of the season turning and taking long walks in the brisk outdoors sipping Pumpkin Spice Lattes as the leaves change colors and cover the ground beneath you. Being surrounded by friends - or lovers, the whole season gives off a notion of warmth whether it’s in your clothing, food or simply the closeness of your loved ones. In this utopia, the hustle and bustle of summer comes to a halt - life as a whole comes to a halt. In reality this is definitely not the case. It seems that once Fall has arrived things actually get busier and there’s less time to really...enjoy the change. 


Ramble, ramble. None of this really makes sense. 


What I’m getting at is that although I love this beautiful season, I have never really had the chance to truly appreciate it. Right now I’m busy cramming for midterms. I’m spending most of my time indoors huddled around my heater (curse old houses and bad insolation) rereading lecture notes. The most time I’ve spent outside enjoying the change has been walking to classes or catching the bus. For this reason, my trip to Calgary was quite nice. I spent a lovely afternoon with one of my best friends at the Corn Maze just outside the city limits. It was the perfect day for this trip, excluding the muckiness of the area due to the torrential downpour the day prior. The Corn Maze is primarily meant for children, so we were a bit outnumbered in that sense, but it was so great nevertheless. Pumpkin Spice Americanos really kicked off the adventure, and were followed by two corn mazes, a petting zoo, potato shooters, a pumpkin patch and face painting. It was fantastic to experience a “real” Fall event with a great friend. 


Now that I’m back in Victoria, I’m making an attempt to bring a little bit of this back with me. I’ve done some homework on u-pick pumpkin patches and corn mazes in the area, and am planning a trip with my roommates once our exams are over next week. We have big plans of carving pumpkins (saving the seeds for baking of course), decorating the house, baking, etc. 


 The first task is getting through these pesky midterms... 


 How are you enjoying the season?
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