Cosplay at Home

I don’t know if it’s the Halloween spirit or the amazing juxtaposition in these photo’s but this series by Klaus Pitchler, had me giggling to myself while I flipped through them. Pitchler casts his lens upon cosplay enthusiasts in their own homes to create a connection between the person and their masked persona. I found the photo’s on Colossal, an art and design blog I follow which posts inspiring multi-medium art by people all over the world. Check it out for more of the series and to get sucked into its wonderful artistic vortex!

Thanks

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Thanks4I love(d) Thanksgiving. This year was a bit unorthodox since my family didn’t plan a big feast for Turkey Day, regardless I still ended up stuffing my face and spending time with the people I love. I even made some Thanksgiving themed crafts (something I haven’t done since elementary school). It was wonderful.

My list of what I’m thankful for grows every year, but this year I’ve felt exceptionally blessed with the opportunities I’ve been given and the people I get to spend my time with. Everyone around me inspires me in their own special ways and I’m lucky to have the friends and family that I do. So thank you all for being  you, it means a lot to me!

 

Happy Anniversary

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Last weekend Neal and I celebrated our two year anniversary (awwww) with a laid back weekend at my cabin. It was perfect. We played games, watched movies, sat by the lake and philosophized, and made some amazing food.

This monumental was a bit of a departure from the way we’ve celebrated in the past. For one the weekend didn’t include getting dressed up and spending hundreds of dollars on a fancy dinner, and thank god because that’s just not in my budget at the moment.

We also planned the weekend together so there were no surprises, other than my surprise at how much I enjoyed not being surprised (clear as mud?). The weekend was all about getting away from reality and spending two whole days together without any distractions.

The weather was amazing so we spent most of Saturday outside. We dug the Bocce ball set out of the shed and hauled it down to the park. We played head to head for hours and made a loop from the park down to the beach, and back.

We kept the competition going all night in various forms. It started with me demanding we do a puzzle, to playing Yahtzee, to Monkeys in a barrel. Game night ended abruptly when we tried to play a 2am round of Scrabble and started arguing about the validity of each others words (for some reason we had forbid use of the dictionary during the game).

In the midst of all the gaming we barbequed some amazing shish kebobs and lemon potatoes, the recipes for both of which I will share in a later post.

On Sunday we slept in and successfully lounged all day, making our way through 3 of 5 Star Wars movies. It was bliss.

I’m pretty thankful for the guy I got to spend so much time with. And after 2 years together, life is only getting better!

Market Burger

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So I had a really yummy time writing a story about a new local burger spot for the Projector (Red River College’s student newspaper). You can read about it here, and let me know what you think! If you like burgers and like locally produced, ethical food then I suggest you check it out!

White Night

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Winnipeg’s third annual Nuit Blanche celebration lit up parts of downtown this past weekend. The all night party started in France in 1984 and has since spread across the globe as a celebration of contemporary art.

As usual, the Winnipeg Art Gallery was a hub for most partygoers, with a steady stream of people wandering through the gallery from 6 pm to 6 am. Unfortunately, rain all day Saturday made the WAG’s rooftop venue was less appealing than in years past.

Inside, a DJ was playing on the third floor, while a contemporary dance performance happened in one of the galleries, and the main foyer was filled with a projected light installation. Exploring the galleries with a drink in my hand was pretty magical.

My friends and I stopped in at Stella’s momentarily but the place was overflowing, so we turned our attention to the Exchange District. The short walk down Portage Avenue led us Old Market Square, which was sparsely populated, again because of the crummy weather.

There was however, a line-up of hungry art enthusiasts spilling out of Smoke’s Poutinerie. Famished from our walk, we joined the line and waited patiently for our bacon cheeseburger poutine.

While we were enjoying our gooey mess of fries a police officer came up to us and asked if a beer can on the table next to us was ours. It wasn’t, and we watched as the officers approached a handful of others who were enjoying an installation in The Cube. I know a public event is not a free for all, but it was strange to see them harassing the 20 people that were wandering about.

We didn’t end up partying all night but Nuit Blanche is a nice opportunity to get Winnipeggers out enjoying art. The fact that it’s free makes it all the more appealing to us cheapskates.

Folk Fest ’13

Festival festival2 campground Tentcity barn Barn2 lounging homeward BikerideMy very first Winnipeg Folk Festival was a blur of music, laughter, and naked dancing. In the twenty-three years since then not much has changed, except for the attendance (and maybe the naked part).

This year was the Festival’s 40th anniversary, and the first time I’ve noticed a marked expansion in the size of the weekend’s operations. I got a little choked up walking onto the grounds this year as I was met with a giant food area and a sprawling beer tent instead of the intimate stages that previously lined the trees. It was startling at first, but I eventually came to terms with the fact that the festival’s numbers have ballooned in recent years, making it necessary for them to cater to every kind of folkie. Sadly the days of topless hippies and naked babies might be over.

To celebrate 40 years the festival pulled in some larger main stage acts such as The Avett Brothers, Serena Ryder, and City and Colour. As well as bringing back fan favourites like Cat Empire and Xavier Rudd. Unfortunately I didn’t check out that many new bands this year because I was having too much fun back at the campsite!

For years my boyfriend and his friends have been blessed with one of the most coveted campsites of the campground. Dubbed “Shady Glen,” it’s a beautiful spot in the trees with room for lots of friends (this year it was close to 30 people), a fire pit, as well as several hammocks. I’m a total piggy-backer, but I’m proud to say I help cinch the spot this year by getting up early on Wednesday and biking out to Birds Hill Park. The bike ride itself was an adventure as I ran into a pole and went over my handle bars early on, then because of  route confusion we ended up leading the pack for the latter part of the ride. After all those flukes I still feel like we deserved our spot and the eight am mimosas we celebrated with.

I feel like I say this every year, but this past folk fest was one of the best. The company was wonderful, the jokes were hysterical, and the party was continuos. It was a whirlwind of sing-alongs, campground wandering, early morning soccer games, yoshi costumes, pepto bismal, big games, glowsticks and music. I couldn’t have asked for more.

Like every other year, the weekend was over before I knew it. The week following the festival is always an uncomfortable attempt at showering off the weekend’s grime and re-emerging into the real world. Thank god there’s only 328 days until next year.

New York City

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Within eight hours our trip had taken us from the rolling hills of Pennsylvania to the angular landscape of Manhattan Island. We drove into New Jersey intending to park the car and hop on a train to our hotel in Hell’s Kitchen, unfortunately our great intentions turned into minor frustrations when finding a long term parking proved more difficult that planned. Eventually we left the Civy at the Newark Airport and headed to the Island just in time for a rainy Friday night rush hour.

Walking out of Penn Station at 5 pm gave us our first stereotypical New York City experience, complete with umbrellas, taxi cabs and lots of jostling for sidewalk space. By the time we stumbled up to our hotel we were completely soaked, pretty embarrassing since the hotel we booked was gorgeous and would have been well above our means without some help from Hotwire. Our room was tiny, but the king-sized bed itself beat sleeping on the ground or our one night stay at a roadside Comfort Inn.

Our time in New York was limited (two and a half days) and with so many friendly suggestions it was pretty overwhelming trying to decide what to do and where to eat. So much so that we ended up winging it or using Yelp most of the time. Our first night out it was still raining so we went to a bar down the street called the Beer Authority, pretty tasty cocktails and the pasta dish I ordered blew me away. Our Saturday consisted of concert food and nine dollar beers, but more on that later. Sunday on the other hand became our totally touristy day.

We woke up bright and early (eleven am) and decided the best thing to cure our post concert headaches was brunch at the HK Cafe, where my eggs benedict craving was thoroughly satisfied. Unluckily for Neal, I noticed a flea market a block wide as we where leaving the cafe and obviously had to investigate. After dragging him around to a close to a dozen vendors his logic prevailed and I agreed that we should probably go see the Empire State Building since we only had 24 hours left in New York City.

On our way we passed by a huge street party celebrating Peurto Rican independence, which was apparently distracting enough for us to j-walk right in front of a few police officers. We made it to the Empire State un-arrested and headed up to the 85th floor observation deck. The view was as breathtaking as you could imagine, but the thing that surprised me was how quiet it was looking over the hustle and bustle of such a massive city.

Our next must-do was a visit to Central Park, and I have to say getting there was an adventure of its own since the New York subway system is a hot confusing mess. Every time we tried to take a train during our visit we ended up getting on the wrong line or going in the wrong direction. But then maybe it was just our inexperience with a real city’s transportation system (nope it was you New York, it really was). Anyways, the park was beautiful and enjoyably busy, not to mention massive as we walked the length of it later on looking for a restaurant. We passed by lakes, birthday parties, and hundreds of people exercising before plopping down on a rock next to some tennis courts. Some of us napped and others just people watched, either way we both enjoyed resting our feet for a while.

We ended off the evening meeting up with some Winnipeg friends and eating fantastic Thai food at a little place called Ember. I left New York the next morning knowing I would have to come back to see everything that we didn’t have time for this time around.

Cookies

Cookies1 Cookies2 Cookies3 Cookies 4 Cookies 5 Cookies6I don’t bake. At least not very often, but the other day I had an insatiable craving for homemade oatmeal raisin cookies. I used a recipe I found in a Betty Crocker cookbook I got for Christmas a few years ago. The result thoroughly satisfied my craving and tasted a lot like Subway cookies. Delightful!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup raisins or chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. In large bowl beat all ingredients except oats, flour and raisins, until well blended. Stir in oats, flour and raisins.

2. On ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart.

3. Bake 9-11 minutes or until light brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.

Enjoy!
 

 

Thrifty Adventures

thrifting thrifting3 thrifting2 thrifting4Over the past month I’ve spent most of my days off in various secondhand stores around the city, and thanks to some amazing partners in thrifting I’ve had abnormally good luck. My initial goal was to find artwork and other things to furnish my place, but of course I came across lots of funky clothes and jewellery that had to come home with me as well. One of my new favourites is an old leather camera case that fits my little Lumix perfectly.

The spots I would recommend checking out are The Old House Revival Company on Young Street, the MCC on Sargent Avenuve and Founder on Portage Avenue. I’m planning on turning some of my finds into craft projects so stay posted!

Date Night In (Sort of)

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I have a huge love affair with dining out, I love trying new restaurants, ordering fancy cocktails, and spending an evening oohing and ahhing over tasty dishes. Unfortunately, this affair costs money and it currently isn’t meshing with my attempt  at being a financially responsible adult. But that’s ok, it means that my man and I get to try our hand at cooking our own inspired meals and tasty cocktails.

Our first attempt at a date night in included a big pot of Paella, Whiskey Sours, and then we went out to see a friends band at the Albert. I would say the evening was a success, especially knowing we saved a moderate fortune!

Spanish Paella with Shrimp, Chicken and Sausage

Recipe from here

Ingredients

1 splash of olive oil
2 chicken breasts, skin removed
2 whole Italian sausages
10 whole peeled garlic cloves
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
2 cups arborio rice
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup red or white wine
3 whole bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 whole red pepper
1 lbs shrimp
2 onions, peeled and chopped

Directions

Heat a large flat sauté pan or traditional paella pan.  Add a splash of oil and begin to brown the chicken and sausages, that have been cut in large chunks. Once they have browned set them aside on a plate.  Add the onions to the hot pan and a small splash of oil, sauté until golden. Add the garlic and stir for a few moments. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon.  Add rice, stock, wine, bay leaves, rosemary, red pepper, the reserved meat and the shrimp.  Bring to a simmer and cook over medium heat until the liquid has absorbed and the rice is tender, about thirty minutes.

Whiskey Sour2 Whiskey SourLil’ Dyls Whiskey Sour

This recipe comes from the brain of a good friend

2 oz Whiskey
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz simple syrup (how-to here)
1 egg white
Shaker

Egg whites may seem like a strange cocktail ingredient but don’t exclude them! Once shaken the egg whites create an amazing frothy head on the drink that is silky and delicious. All you need to do is combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and give it a hard shake. Pour into a rocks glass and enjoy!