Posts tagged my life
Posts tagged my life
Not going to lie, guys: today didn’t suck. Not even a little bit.
There are times when my sister and I have to check in with the outside world to see if things we consider “normal traditions” are in fact just that. It took us years to discover that kite flying on Good Friday was not, in fact, “normal.” It was a Bermudian tradition that my parents adopted as their own when we lived there from 1985-1989. And it’s a tradition they took along to our next place of residency: Winnipeg.
In spite of March and April snows in wintery Manitoba, we ran the lengths of the school soccer field in snowsuits and Sorrels with friends young and old. (There’s even some video footage of one Easter’s kite judging - oh yes, we were very serious about this whole thing. There were many prizes to be won.)
When we moved again - this time to Germany - kite flying took a bit of a back burner. My mother and I only vaguely remember one Easter that featured it. (Perhaps because when in Europe, we spent a lot of long weekends traveling?)
But over the years it’s returned to our weekend of festivities. My sister’s university friends took part one year when my mother moved to the same city they were all located in. Last year, we passed it along to the next generation of little ones in our family (although do to scheduling conflicts kite flying has become a Saturday activity).
It may not be a widespread tradition, but we’re working on it.
(Photos: Top left - me in Bermuda circa 1987 or 1988; Right and bottom left - Good Friday in Winnipeg circa 1992, I’m in pink & my sister’s with our friend Jeanine; Bottom - me with Chelsey in 2012)
Last week I got to hang out with Belvedere Vodka’s 2011 Dream Job winner, the extremely charming and personable Ali Dedianko (as well as some other illustrious members of the media) at Toronto’s Martini Club in the Distillery District.
The evening kicked off with a Belvedere tasting with a side of history and/or trivia. I was surprised at how little I know about vodka considering it’s my favourite spirit! The world’s first super premium vodka, Belvedere is quadruple distilled - from rye - and is entirely additive free. (Do you know what’s in your vodka!? Be careful, there’s a lot of sugar - and other random things - added to many other brands!)
Moving along, once we’d smelled, tasted and savoured some of Belvedere’s latest cocktail creations, we had a chance to hop behind the bar and try our own hand at one of the three drinks. Being an overly ambitious amateur bartender as well as a lover of cocktails with egg whites, I volunteered to take on the Lavender Sour (click here for the recipe and picture). Here’s what I learned:
The night continued on to Pure Spirits, where we were treated to several courses of incredible food paired with a perfect Belvedere-based cocktail (yes, there was another that featured egg whites - I can’t get enough of these!).
Step 1: Apply mass amounts of eye cream (I prefer and recommend eysilix).
Step 2: Concealer - lots of it, under your eyes. Benefit Erase Paste is my best friend.
Step 3: Red lipstick. It will distract people from immediately noticing the rest of your face.
10 more days.
For those of you who didn’t know this about me, I LOVE VALENTINE’S DAY. Regardless of relationship status, I’ve always felt this way. I love making annoyingly sparkly pink and red cards and sending them to my friends. I love baking holiday themed treats (red velvet! things dubbed kisses!) for people at work. I attempt to wear hearts or pink or something on the 14th. I love it all.
To you doubters - or the people just a little too bitter or too cynical - I say: Love the day and it will love you back.
Ringing in 2013: from prep to bed.
I am a lazy home cook.
No, really. It’s true. And sure, you’re rolling your eyes because you’ve just scrolled by some photos of fresh gnocchi I made this weekend, but I still need to confess that truly, I’m a lazy home cook.
I decided in early December that 2013 would be the year I attempted to make gnocchi (and depending on its success, perhaps a ravioli or some other pasta). Fate - and my mother - helped this along by putting a gnocchi paddle in my stocking this Christmas. And so on a cold and wintery 2012 evening, I went forth and attempted to make these little potato mongrels.
Turns out making gnocchi is….ridiculously easy. A friend tipped me off to look up Jamie Oliver’s recipe as he bakes to potatoes instead of boiling them. This makes the potatoes drier and means you’ll require less flour. I took my cues from this recipe, making various adjustments along the way (for starters, I’d only purchased 4 potatoes). If you’re looking for step-by-step exact measurements, you’re not going to love this recipe as it’s more of a “handful of this” and “splash more of liquid.” Regardless, I recommend it.
I popped a handful of the gnocchi in boiling salt water and less than 2 minutes later they’d floated to the top and were ready to be pulled out with a slotted spoon. With a little store-bought rose sauce (see! LAZY!) and sprinkling of parm, I settled in for the night with a lovely glass of shiraz and a lot of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
(And since I squished this gnocchi attempt into 2012, I’m granting myself another year to give homemade marshmallows a try.)
I actually had this very poster in my room. (I’m scared to click on the link and see how many other ones I recognize from my 15-year-old self’s room.)
A tiny exert from a message a guy sent me asking to take me out:
While normally being attracted to people without TV’s, I am beyond curious to hear about your job, and offer you some balance away from the field.
Balance? Who says I don’t have the amount of balance I desire? Guess he missed the part where I said I loved my job in Entertainment journalism, specifically writing about TV.
A rainy Monday of Paris sights. (And yes, I sang Les Miserables songs in my head as I walked up and down St. Michel.)
Oct. 6, 2012: a few snapshots from my first 24 hrs in Paris.
Oct 3, 2012: it’s been 15 years since I’ve been in Germany - 16 since I actually lived here - but wandering along the streets of Starnberg felt so familiar. The stores have changed; I’ve grown up; but as I walked up the hill towards my former home, part of me still felt very much like my 13 year-old self. And I was still really pleased that I knew all the lyrics to Skee-Lo’s “I Wish.”
My sister’s currently flying from Vancouver to Montreal — only to move to Toronto later this week.
Tonight I fly Toronto to London to spend two weeks traveling around Europe.
Is it obvious that we both had fairly nomadic upbringings?
With a week to go before I’m once again Europe-bound, I have to get something off my mind/chest/something. After a crazy/amazing few months - spending time with my family in Metis, heading to the Olympics in London, TIFF party madness - I’m taking a vacation. A real, two weeks off, no family obligations, leaving-on-a-jet-plane vacation.
As soon as I tell people of my impending time off, I get a question that truly baffles me. It’s always the first question I’m asked when I tell people I’m Europe-bound:
“Who are you going with?”
Not “where in Europe?” No ”when do you leave?” No one asks “how long are you going for?” Just “who are you going with?”
Myself. I’m going with myself. And I’m incredibly excited about it. And I’m completely confounded by the question every time I hear it (and I’ve heard it a LOT). My reply’s oft followed by their, “Oh…well, that’s great. You’ll have fun…” in a less enthusiastic, softly reassuring tone.
I KNOW I’LL HAVE FUN. I’m an employed adult going on vacation for two weeks! To Europe! It’s a privilige! I am lucky to be able to do this! I am so unbelievably fortunate to have the time and money to go off on another adventure.
Not that anyone’s asked but my first stop is London, to attend a childhood Metis friend’s wedding (with a number of other Metisians in tow for the festivities). Since my Olympics trip was more about the Games and major sightseeing, this London visit gets to be about me. Spending an entire afternoon in the National Portrait gallery, exploring east London or Camden, just generally getting off the well-beaten Oxford Circus path.
After a few days with familiar faces in the UK (including a brief drop-in on my dad and his family in Wales), I’m hopping a flight to the continent. I haven’t been back to Munich since I was 14 years old; exploring as an adult is going to be a whole different experience. Growing up there, my parents left me and my friends to our own devices on the weekend, taking the S-bahn to Marienplatz and spending the day trying on ugly clothes at H&M or C&A, listening to Nirvana CDs at HMV and eating too many McChickens. I vaguly recall many trips to Neuschwanstein when various friends and family visited from Canada. But Oktoberfest was about rides then - not beer - and the Hofbrauhaus is where the adults went without us.
My last stop is five days in Paris. For someone who spent two and a half years living in Europe, it’s surprising to my friends that I have never been to the City of Light. In fact, I’m the only one in my family (both immediate and extending out to first cousins, aunts, uncles and grandmother). In addition to getting to finally experience Paris for myself, one of my best friends from university is flying in (from Frankfurt where she teaches) for the weekend so we can celebrate her 30th birthday in true Parisian style (read: party dresses, wine, cheese, great food in general and more wine).
So, yes, I’m going on vacation alone. And yes, conveniently there are friends and familiar places along the way. But even if I were going off alone without these things, trust me when I say, I don’t need anyone’s pity or reassurances that I can have fun alone. I’ve had no problems finding fun solo in the last 29 years and I don’t expect to now.