It’s been six months since moving away from Calgary, AB to Victoria, BC. I wrote this blog post at the height of my homesickness…kind of like an ode to Calgary. While Victoria is my new home and I’m learning to love it, Calgary will always hold a special place in my heart.
I’ve lived in Calgary almost my entire life — definitely my entire adult life. I’m now thirty-six. My husband and I made the decision to move to Victoria, a city in the south of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, partly because my husband found a great career opportunity…and partly because my family lives close by. I’m actually the last one from my fam to move out here from Calgary, so I guess it was time. Thing is, I thought I would enjoy the change. I’ve been complaining about how Calgary was always the outlet city, almost never a stop on the tour of a mainstream (or any stream!) artist, unapologetically conservative and a staunch oil and gas town. I longed for different people who brought more culture with them, downtown places that remained open past six p.m. — last call for those making the long trek home to the ‘burbs. Fashion houses who didn’t just dump their fringed leather trends or denim outfits into their recently-opened last-ditch-effort-to-sell-them outlet centres. When I was younger, I longed for nightlife with purpose. ‘Discoteques’, which opened just as frequently as they closed down — clearly did not belong in Calgary. As I got older, and had children, I wanted spaces for them to appreciate the city lights along with the greenery that Calgary is well-known for. Places for them to play, explore and learn.
I moved away hoping to find these things and more. And I did. But not in Victoria, at least not now, not yet. I realized that all these things were already in Calgary. But not just the culture — craft beer, pizza and ice cream and the myriad of fashion houses to finally open their doors in Calgary — but also places for my children to play, explore and learn. The Science Centre, Zoo, National Music Centre and the recently opened Central Library are all within a couple of train stops from each other. Riding on the network of bike trails leading up to those locations and the beautiful new East Village and St. Patrick’s Island were something my kids and I looked forward to every spring and summer. And the people… the people of Calgary, are as protective of their oil and gas assets as they are of their neighbours. You see, the cold makes people warmer somehow.
Speaking of which, as much as I hated those snowy, freezing sub-zero temperatures which made me want to (and sometimes I did) hibernate for weeks, I miss them. They became predictable. You learned that after the snow stopped falling, the sun would surely shine. And how I miss that wintery sunshine. Deceptive as it was (it’s so, so much colder when it’s sunny out, when you see the pretty snow glisten like so many heaps of diamonds) you knew when to bundle up. But you also knew to take advantage of the fresh snow…some went skiing or snowboarding on the nearby hills (or mountains — Calgary is oh-so-close to Banff and Canmore) or my still-favorite past-time — tobogganing and hot chocolate. And you also knew that you’d get a break — because Calgary, as opposed to the rest of snowy, cold, Canada — gets Chinooks. Beautiful warm winds that blow through the foothills, melting much of the snow on the ground, leaving the roads and your leather boots a mucky mess, but allowing for just enough time to get together with friends for a walk or to go for brunch at one of the many yummy breakfast places the city has to offer.
I feel like I left Calgary just as things were getting good. Maybe, had I opened my eyes, I would have realized they had been getting good for a quite a while. Yes, Calgary is still struggling financially, and will for some time. But as they say, ‘if you can’t stay for the bad times, you sure as hell don’t deserve the good times’, amirite?
The grass may be greener on the other side (and here it remains green even in the winter!) but Calgary will always be perfect to me.
So it’s Valentine’s Day, and some would have you believe that it’s either the best, most romantical (yes, I know it’s not really a word, but it’s mine, so just go with it!) day ever created or the worst. The rest of us that lie somewhere in the middle — between a “meh” and a “where did all these heart-shaped candies come from?”
Googling “history of Valentine’s Day” will bring up an NPR opinion piece that tells of the holiday’s origins from the Romans, to Shakespeare to modern-day Hallmark cards. Towards the end. the piece addresses the issue with how popular and profitable the holiday has become after the industrial revolution, “commercialization has spoiled the day for many. Helen Fisher, a sociologist at Rutgers University, says we have only ourselves to blame. “This isn’t a command performance,” she says. “If people didn’t want to buy Hallmark cards, they would not be bought, and Hallmark would go out of business.”
So do we just like to complain about the hubbab of greeting cards, expensive dinner reservations and boxes of chocolate, then? Do we secretly enjoy these things that advertisers tell us to enjoy about Valentine’s Day? Or do we enjoy them only when we’re the other half of a happy couple?
Not to be confused with Galentine’s Day (where you and your BFF gal celebrate your friendship on February 13) — Singles Awareness Day (or SAD, which is kind of…. sad, really) is what people thought of as the alternative to Valentine’s Day for those not a part of a happy couple. On this day, the thought was/is, being single is a day to be celebrated, encouraged even — by going out to eat or watch a movie alone, buying yourself chocolates or flowers or a piece of jewellery. Things that, apparently single people never did on their own, so thank goodness for SAD! *eye roll*
However you choose to celebrate this Valentine’s Day/SAD, and whether it be together, or alone, be sure to include some good physical lovin’. For those who could use a little help or spice — watch my unboxing of Dame Products’ Eva II on IGTV HERE.
All you need:
Preheat oven and then prepare muffin mix with egg and water according to instructions on package. Add chocolate chips, pumpkin spice and pumpkin purée. Adjust for climate — if you live in a mainly humid area, add a bit more flour, but if you live in a mainly dry climate, this recipe should be fine. (Trust me, this makes a difference!)
Place muffin mix into muffin trays according to package instructions. You can use pretty liners or parchment ones like I did! Get creative. Bake according to package instructions.
Eat. The. Muffins.
Let me know in the comments below if you decide to try this recipe & how your muffins turned out! Also, let me know if you have any of your own “hacked” recipes you like to make!
For a wee bit… focusing on some homey-crafty things for now. Stay tuned!!
Got my Summer box a little while ago now, so thought I’d give you my thoughts on what’s worked in last season’s (Spring) box — and what hasn’t. Here’s a super-fast unboxing video of that Spring box:
My clutch came in the “Paradise” pattern – with the “millenial pink” and palm leaves (I think?) on one side and solid teal on the other. The zipper is gold-plated with a teal tassle on the end. It’s such a pretty clutch — I looove the fact that you can flip it over and use it both ways. It’s definitely made for more casual or work-casual outfits but if jeans are involved, you could also wear it out to date night or girls’ night out.
I have sensitive skin and have finally found a beauty regimen that works for my skin (I have rosecea as well as the occasional pimple when I’m PMS’ing) — so I’ve been hesitant to try this for fear that it might disturb my current “skin calmness”. I think face lotions and creams are so personal, I’m not sure why FFF decided to include this one. Maybe I’ll give it a go as a body or hand cream when my current ones run out…
In “Fresh Linen”. Yep. Not too sure when to use this candle. Perhaps when I want visitors to think I’ve done a fresh load of laundry? Pass.
I’m OBSESSED with this. I wear it EVERY DAY. It makes my nails stronger, longer, and they look pretty, too. I’ve never been able to get my natural nails very long as they tend to chip or peel — but I haven’t had any issues with this! Two coats and I’m done. Since it’s a pinky tone that matches my natural nailbed colour — I don’t even have to worry about messing up the application! LOVE.
Super-cute, vegan leather with embroidered metallic stars. Non-toxic cooling insert. Ahhhhh…. The eye mask feels sooo soft on your skin and the insert is very refreshing on your peepers. But make sure you don’t leave it in the fridge for very long — not good for the sensitive eye-area.
The roller came in four randomly-selected colours — purple, red, gray and teal. I got the teal one. The roller may look like it would hurt since it’s got two spikey balls – but it’s actually divine. I use it on my sore shoulders and calves. It works great between massage appointments.
Amazing selection of lipsticks shades. Great compact and the lip brush works great too. Not too sure when I would use this, though, except when making at-home videos as the compact is a little too big to carry around in my purse. And, if I can’t carry it around with me — I can’t reapply.
Beauty choice item: KNC Beauty All Natural Collagen Infused Lip Mask
Pack of 5. These are okay. I’m not very impressed with them besides the fact that they came in a cute reusable pink-camo zippered “envelope”. I found them hard to apply as they tend to slip off and too big so they don’t just cover your lip but like, the whole mouth area.
The other choice was: Korres Guava Body Butter
Jewellery choice item: Ettika Day Dreamer Tassel Earrings
Great pair of earrings. I recommend them in a darker shade if you have light hair or a lighter shade if you have dark hair. If you have long hair, these can get lost in there, so I prefer to wear them when my hair is up.
The other choice was: Maya Brenner Designs LOVE Bracelet