Update: September Budget

So, I wrote a budget and kept track of my money for the first time ever this month. To anyone other than me, not so interesting. To me, crazy! This first month didn’t exactly go as planned, but not in anyway that is interesting enough to write about.

There were a few things that I didn’t anticipate this month–a minor car repair, Prince George being more expensive than I thought, giving a bit extra to charity (ugh, gross). But thanks to some cushion I intentionally added and a super generous boyfriend, it wasn’t so bad at the end of it. It was definitely a lesson learned.

A cool thing that happened this month? I was looking up my student loan balance for the first time in forever (I know, I’m an irresponsible adult) and I only have $220 left to pay! Seriously, that’s a fraction of what I thought it would be.  I’m not sure which month I’ll wipe it out for good quite yet, but it will happen soon!

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Weekend Away: Vancouver

I spent the last weekend of summer visiting Vancouver. Even though it’s “so close” I always forget what a city it is. You can’t just walk everywhere you want to go. There are more than 5 cool restaurants. The number of beautiful women in fashionable clothes make it hard not to stare. On any given night there are more than 0-2 cool things to do. I don’t think I’ll ever desire to live there, but I do love to visit.

photo (12)Kurt and I headed over on Saturday morning on a Harbour Air flight. Now, maybe it’s their size that allows them the best customer service in the world, but I wish that dealing with all airlines was like dealing with Harbour Air. Once we landed we beelined it to the nearest place that sold food, Starbucks in this case, so I could buy some doughy-wrap thing  to prevent myself from turning into a crazy because I hadn’t eaten in the last hour and 45 minutes. Kurt then left me to go eat Vietnamese subs and play cards in a brewery tasting room with friends while I went to a “work thing” out at UBC. I won’t elaborate on the “work thing” here, mostly just to annoy Jojo.

We had dinner that night with two of Kurt’s friends, Adam and Dana, at the Cannibal Cafe which is definitely related some how to the SNFU song. There was a lot of mohawk and leather at the bar. However, the four of us are not punk rock, and therefore, had to sit in the back corner. In it’s diner-like setting I did not have high hopes for the food, but it was actually really good. The three others had burgers and I had a tuna tataki salad type thing with a side of onion rings, because punk rock. On our way home from dinner, Kurt and I stopped for a night cap of pumpkin beer and yummy cake at St. Augustines before heading back to our fancy hotel.

On Sunday morning we met up with my friends Lizzie and Simon for brunch near their house in Yaletown at the Glowbal Grill. It was a goodnational brunch, great service and a wonderful catch up with dear friends, but the skies didn’t share the love. During our brunch it began to torrential downpour, so Kurt and I gave up an afternoon of Vancouver things and spent most of the day in our fancy hotel bed. The rain finally let up when my beautiful best friend Katie got to town. She has that way about her. Kurt, Katie, Trev and I joined a couple others for dinner at Society in Yaletown. Their drink list was odd to say the least–they don’t have any cider available nor olives to garnish drinks. However, if you’re interested in a giant pile of cotton candy to go atop you martini–no problem! I had the gnocchi; it was good, though bizarrely, I think I might be allergic to gnocchi. And then we went to go see the National. I got to sip some cider, stand next to my best friend and have my boyfriend’s arms around me and listen to one of my favourite bands of 2013 play. It was awesome. There weren’t the magical fireworks in my heart and in my ears that I was secretly hoping for, but oh well. The show was still unreal. To make it even better, I got to meet up briefly with my friend Eric from university after 8 years of communicating only via twitter!Summer 2013 051

Katie, Trev and I rounded out our Vancouver vacation with a brunch at Cafe Medina (Kurt had to get back to work). Or I should say they did. My body retaliated against me and the gnocchi I ate the night before and I had to pass on the waffles and skillets and coffee and just sit there being sad as my friends enjoyed their meals immensely. Oh well. Tummy hatred aside, it was a pretty great way to spend the last weekend of summer.

Long Live Fall

Summer is done now. Thank god. It’s not that I don’t love the sun and the heat and all the fun times to be had, I do, it’s just that it exhausts me. I’ve had a total blast all summer, but I’m the kind of nerdy person who thrives on routine and staying close to home. Since the beginning of June I’ve gone on camping trips to Pender Island and Sombrio. I drove down the West Coast to Portland with the love of my life. I was a Maid of Honour, a bridesmaid and a wedding MC . I celebrated two of my closest friends in their last days of singledom. I had friends and family come visit. I visited my parents in the Cariboo. I saw Mos Def and White Buffalo and went to Rifflandia and to Vancouver for the National. I went to the lake and had dinner with friends and did lots of hiking and drank wine and destroyed more than one series on Netflix. All of this on top of working 55 hours of week and a couple of illnesses that kicked my ass.

I’m ready for the downtime and hibernation that come with the fall. I’m excited to listen to fall music (the National, Okkervil River, the xx, Junip, Kurt Vile, you get what I mean here). I’m excited to turn the heat on in my house and car and smell the smell of burning dust. I’m excited to have chill nights with my best friends who have had equally bonkers summers. I’m excited to spend Saturdays at home alone listening to CBC radio and Sundays with my love eating Thai food and cuddling. I’m excited to have time to get fit again and to cook again. I’m excited to revisit all the hiking trails and restaurants and coffee shops that this city has to offer. I have a couple of adventures planned for the rest of the year but they are few and far between. I’m mostly just excited to sit close to home and enjoy living in the city that I’ve chosen.

I’m so happy for this season.

Spring Rolls

salad_rolls

Mine have never looked this good, hopefully yours will though.

Guys, these are healthy, delicious, impressive to others and crazy easy. Seriously, why wouldn’t you make spring rolls? Make them at home for yourself, for your lovers, for dinner parties, they work for everything.

Ingredients:

  • Rice paper. The larger the rice paper, the easier it is to roll.
  • Butter lettuce
  • Mango
  • Avocado
  • Prawns. Tails removed obviously.
  • Cucumber
  • Peanut satay sauce. Or any other sauce you would prefer for dipping.

Cut up your mango, avocado and cucumber into thin, 2-3 inch long strips. I like to have all my stuff organized on plates prior to rolling, but you do what you want. Take a piece of rice paper and soak it in water for about 45 seconds. I use a frying pan for this because it makes sense size-wise, but again, you do what you want. Lay out the rice paper, add the ingredients and roll it up. It’s that simple. Truthfully, It may take a couple practice rolls until you get one that is presentable, but that is actually a good thing because you get to eat your mistakes.

Rifflandia 2013 as a 30-Something

Thursday.

My man, Kurt and I started the festival strong on Thursday night with a great (and half priced) dinner at Smiths thanks to our handy wristbands. After dinner we headed down to the same place that everybody else was headed–Phillips Brewery for the Pat Mahoney and James Murphy DJ set. Pat Mahoney and James Murphy are both members of the musical act LCD Soundsystem. I know about 5 of their songs and I am quite fond of a youtube video of Murphy in the back of a cab with Tim and Eric, but that is the extent of my knowledge. The night was just like an outdoor party where all your friends and acquaintances are gathered drinking good beer. The music was cool, but to me it could have been anybody.  As the venue filled up and things started to get spilly, we headed to Metro Theatre to see the Belle Game on the recommendation on my young/hip friend Elexa. They were at capacity and we couldn’t get in, an unfortunate Rifflandia occurrence. Instead of being cool and going somewhere else, we cut our losses and went home to bed. Rifflandia or not, I still had to work in the morning.

Friday.

I checked the park out briefly after work. I thought I might want to see the Mounties, but upon first listen I realized I was actually okay, so I headed back home to make dinner. A cool thing about my house–it’s about a 5 minute walk away from Royal Athletic Park, very handy for outfit changes, meal breaks and naps. We went to the park for real later that evening for Courtney Love. I have to admit, she was about 5000 times better than I thought she would be. In fact, she was fucking awesome. Towards the end of her set we beelined it for a second night at Phillips for the hiphop show. Son Real was pretty good. I was skeptical when Z-Trip started play, as I strongly dislike electronic music, but he won me over. And then Action Bronson, who was awesome because how can you not like someone who sings about Marty Jannetty? By the time Action Bronson was onstage, the venue was packed with people dancing and double fisting and stepping on my feet and spilling beer on my sweater. I was happy to leave about halfway through his set to get to Alix Goolden to see Cold Specks, one of my Rifflandia must sees. She was perfect as I knew she would be. We attempted Holy Fuck but got there in time only for a massive line, so we made our last stop of the night the Cooper Owl for Young Liars. They were great, but sounded a lot like a lot of bands sound right now.

Saturday.

I got to the park for 1pm to see my number one Rifflandia must see–Corb Lund. I love him. I loved the Smalls and I love the Hurtin Albertans. I wore my cowboy boots to honour him. I knew the words to every song, but I didn’t sing along because I felt too silly. Oh well. He was the best. We hung out in the park for the rest of the day with friends and great food–Tacofino fish burrito (!!!). We paid attention to St. Lucia and Chali 2na and let everything else serve as background music for our Saturday. By the time USS came on, I needed to get out of there, so we headed home for a nap. We got back to the park for Death From Above 1979 which was loud and nostalgia-inducing. That evening everyone was going back to Phillips, but I just couldn’t do more crowds and small talk and spilly dancers. We toyed with the Copper Owl for a mellow drink, but ultimately just bailed out and went home to bed.

Sunday.

We got to the park half-way through Hannah Georgas’ set, which was great, though I wish I had seen her at the War Child Lounge instead. She went on a date with my old roommate once, which is super comical if you know him. Though unrelated to her music, it makes me like her more. Again we spent most of the day in the park, sipping ciders with friends and eating great food–Hungry Rooster perogies (!!!). I was looking forward to Brushy One String a whole lot, but he wasn’t able to make it to town. The Stars were good, of course, though I wish I was closer to the stage when they played Your Ex-Lover is Dead. At this point in the dreary day, everyone around me was cold and wet, so I volunteered to run home on a sweater run–told everyone I’d be back in 15-20 depending on the lines. Well, when I returned to the park the line went all the way down Cook to Pembroke and was getting longer real fast. To top it off, it wasn’t moving and we (my friend Alex was in line right behind me thankfully) were told by 2 different people they weren’t letting anyone else in. After about 45-minutes of standing still in the pouring rain, something happened and we were around the block and right into the gates. I got there about halfway through Big Boi’s set which was obviously awesome and me and all my friends were now warm, also awesome. After Big Boi was Matt and Kim. Their style isn’t my cup of tea but they were easily some of the best performers of the weekend. It was a party under that tent. And finally, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. They are one of my guilty pleasure bands; I’m a secret fan and they were a great way to end the weekend.

Overall, it was an awesome weekend! I had some cool self-realizations with regards to just how much small talk and crowd I can handle in one weekend–not as much as you will encounter over one weekend at Rifflandia. That said, tired or not, I will definitely do it again next year.

Rifflandia 2013

It’s my third Rifflandia. I’m stoked. The first two years were my during my party-time-hey-day and I don’t recall a whole lot. I attended Riff 1 and Riff 2 as plus ones of an ex and then a friend who were playing the festival. I drank heavily each night because that’s just what I did. Going to a show was as much about hanging out with my friends as it was the music. I heard more than I saw because instead of paying attention I was sitting in whatever area allowed me free beer. This makes me sound sad, but I assure you, I had a lot of fun. My top three memories of Rifflandia are:

  1. Smoking cigarettes in a bathroom stall  with a bunch of girls at Sugar because there were no ins and outs and we didn’t want to miss Pink Mountaintops
  2. Ariel Pink having an overdose on stage at Legends.
  3. Being very sad last year that I didn’t get to see Sloan

This weekend is going to be a very different experience. I’m pretty sure I will remember everything and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be awesome.  There’s a solid line up, I’ve assembled an A+ team AND it’s sunny. Ok. It’s night one. Let’s do this.

Stuff I Love: September Edition

shiesedoShiseido BB Cream. Full disclosure, this is my first ever BB cream. They may all be this amazing, but I wouldn’t know. I read about this product and its SPF35 on a blog somewhere and immediately I got it in my head that this was the BB Cream for me and nothing else would ever do. Unfortunately it is not available in Canada, at least last time I checked, however I was able to pick up a tube (bottle?) while on vacation in Portland this summer. If/when it ever makes its way North, you should definitely try it. Unless all BB creams are this great–if that’s the case, what should I use next?

The National Trouble Will Find Me. This album is beautiful. I listen to about 5 times a week, and try not to cry each time. It is by far my favourite of all National albums and I absolutely cannot wait until the 22nd when I get to see them play in Vancouver.trouble will find me

line sweaterMy Line Sweater. I own this sweater. It is my nicest thing. Other than my bed and my computer, it’s the most expensive item I’ve ever purchased. I spent over half a month’s rent on it last fall when I, like, just totally needed something that would make me feel beautiful, you know? No regrets though. I love this sweater.

Sun Salutations. These things are game changers. I was in a car accident early this year and I am certain that my recovery happened as quickly as it did because of these yoga poses. I start my morning with three modified sun salutations, one focusing on my back and one on each hip. It takes about 10 minutes and it absolutely makes a big difference in my day. It gets the blood flowing and my heart beating and wakes me up like a cup of coffee. If I even take a few days off, I feel it (and regret it) almost immediately.

Sun-Salutation-teen

Hell on Wheels. If you’re in the market for a new Netflix addiction, may I suggest Hell on Wheels? It has everything, handsome cowboys, revenge and suspense, and girls with facial tattoos. Try it, at least until Deadwood becomes available.hell on wheels