Fave Holiday Bevvies 2015

Merry Christmas readers!

It’s been a crazy and exciting passed week.  So many Christmas parties and gatherings and finishing up house things as well!  Spent last night moving furniture into the container, maybe I’ll move in for Christmas?! Eeeeek, exciting!

Because we’ve had so many Christmas parties this year, we’ve fallen victim to alot more boozing than usual…. But ‘Tis the season!  My boyfriend and I have decided we’re doing a “sober January” coming up.  So in honor of that i’ve compiled a list of my fave boozy Xmas bevvies,  that i’ve got just over a week to enjoy!

 

cranberry-mimosas1

Cranberry Mimosas (recipe)
Super easy to make. Personal fave.  Down for mimosas anytime really…

 

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Granville Island Winter Ale
Who said this had to be just a cocktail list? I’m loving these brews this year!  I believe they’re in liquor stores Canada wide.

 

321428Gluehwein (recipe)
Tummy-warming spiced wine.  This one is a favorite because it reminds me of last Christmas in Vancouver with my Austrian roommate.  As you can tell by the name it’s an Austrian/German traditional beverage.

 

whistler-chestnut-ale-2

Whistler Chestnut Ale
This was my ABSOLUTE fave seasonal beer when i was on the coast, I could drink 4 shamelessly… but it’s only sold regionally and I can’t get it here in Manitoba 🙁

No Christmas drink list would be complete without…

12.09.11_FA_Eggnog

Eggnog (recipe)
This recipe is from Martha Stewart and is like rum and eggnog on steroids!  It takes a little more time than your classic R&E but is sooooo yummy. I had one (or two..) at a rather uppity Xmas party once, made them once myself, Always delicious!

S&S wishes you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Fave Holiday Bevvies 2015

Warm for the Winter

It snowed today.  I mean, for Manitoba we’re doing better than most years (2013, the last winter I spent in Mb, we were 3 feet under by now) but the inevitability doesn’t make my heart break any less.  This year I have more to lose.  I’m an extremely novice house-builder at best, and nothing makes you second guess your abilities like an impending snowstorm.

2013 When I was living in Winnipeg. This was the winter that put Winnipeg on the map for record snowfall and temperatures colder than Mars!
2013 When I was living in Winnipeg. This was the winter that put Winnipeg on the map for record snowfall and temperatures colder than Mars!

As i’m going about my day today, I noticed the flurries floating around outside the window of my parents place and couldn’t help but wonder “Am I going to freeze my ass of this winter?”.  My plan as far as heating my container house relies solely on the big beautiful woodstove I bought off Kijiji (Don’t let the fact that I found it on Kijiji cheapen it, it really is a million pounds of HUGE BEAUTIFUL CAST IRON).

In my researching and brainstorming of ways to keep warm this winter, I was suddenly aware of how living in a small, moveable structure is a slightly more primitive way of life compared to the large, permanent houses that are the norm.  Thinking along those lines, I went back to basics & created this list of simple, overlooked ways to keep warm this upcoming cold season.  (That you don’t have to be Mike Holmes to understand.)

  • Wear layers & warm clothes made of heat-trapping materials (even indoors)
  • Make sure you’re windows are double or even triple pane…
  • … and seal them! Plastic and hair dryer style.
  • Fire = heat ( a wood stove or fireplace!)
  • Eat warm food and embrace soup season (the most wonderful time of the year if you ask me)
  • Actively look for and correct drafts
  • Sleep with more blankets and/or a hot water bottle
  • Use a variety of insulation solutions for different situations.  (My whole build used a combination of Roxul, spray foam and appropriate air spaces.)
  • Open your blinds and let the sun in during the day!
  • Stop shaving your legs?

Anything I missed?

 

Warm for the Winter

Re-entering the Nest

I thought this would be an appropriate opening post for S&S because this is how my tiny-home journey began.

The first container being dropped off.
The first container being dropped off.  July 2015

It started when I was living on the Canadian west coast.  I read a book by Dee Williams, called “The Big Tiny”, which follows the real life process of building a tiny garden shed sized house on a trailer.  Not long after finishing it I became more or less utterly obsessed with the concept of building my own tiny living quarters.  I’m talking book-buying, pinterest-boarding, floorplan-drawing, budget-drafting obsessed.  I loved the idea of building a home that would complement my life and not drain my bank account.  Small enough to be managable, highly functional and so damn cute.  I knew a tiny-home was for me.

My mother, who lives in Manitoba and who I talked to on the phone often, had noticed my new obsession and coincidentally had also been looking for a way to get me to move home since I had left, 2 years prior.  She saw the opportunity and capitalized by buying 2 40x8x9 seacans, generously providing me with land and challenging me to build a home.  A challenge I gladly accepted.  A bribe, some may say.

Along with all the bribery came the fact that I’d be moving back in with my parents for the duration of the build.  Which was less than ideal, but part of the package and more than anything, just my own psychological hurtle that I’d have to get over.

As a person who’s been single, independent, severely OCD and living on their own for a long time, the adjustment was rough and the living hasn’t always been easy… But the payoff has been extraordinary.  One of the best things being that I was able to put what would be rent money into the build.  Another, that I’m now living at the source of the best shepherd’s pie I’ve ever met.  Not to mention the hard work and time my family has also donated to the project (possibly because they want me out of their house faster).

Check out the latest build update here.

Re-entering the Nest

Signs you’re Currently Living your Quarter-Life Crisis

You’ve done everything right in your life up to this point.  You went to high school. Graduated. Moved out of your parents house. Went to college. Graduated. Got a job to sustain your basic needs. Now you wake up everyday and wonder what the fuck you’re doing. Classic QLC.

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Your job is not satisfying.  Any of the following scenarios may apply.   At one time maybe it’s what you thought you wanted, now it’s definitely not.  You’re stuck at a McJob until you figure out what you’re next move is.  You’re in “hurry up & wait” mode, just putting in time until you can move up the ladder.  OR you’re like me and went to college but now you have no desire whatsoever to pursue that thing you went to college for.

Sunday Brunch Caesers are your religion and also a metaphor for your existence.  A shot or two of alcohol dressed up as something of more substance, but really just an excuse to drink before noon.  You’d drink em everyday if you could but for some reason they’re always the Sunday cocktail special.

You sometimes kinda wanna have a baby… You also sometimes definitely don’t wanna have a baby.

You browse Craigslist and get emotionally attached to every listed west coast acreage you can’t afford for another 4 years, which is so close… yet so far away.

If I had a dollar for every rent cheque I’ve ever written, I’d probably have one whole rent cheque.  When I was 18, paying rent in exchange for a whole month of free will was the shit.  But somewhere down the line when you realized all the money you’ve paid in rent over the years, could of equalled a down payment (a couple times over) the freedom feeling dulls and rent-cheque-writing turns into a single-tear-rolling-down-your-cheek kind of experience.

Some of your friends are married.  Some of your friends are parents.  Some of your friends found Jesus.  Some of your friends are drunks.  Some of your friends are drunks in Thailand. Together these 5 categories equal 100% of your friends.

Your whole world right now is just day-in, day-out scrambling to find something you are passionate about.

Remember that time we did too many drugs and handled it like high-schoolers?  Sometimes you want to do that again but you don’t know how or where to buy drugs anymore.

You are tempted to make impulsive decisions, but the indecision is paralyzing.  Every decision is the worlds hardest because all you can think about is how each choice could potentially shape the rest of your life.

No pressure.

 

Signs you’re Currently Living your Quarter-Life Crisis

How to Drive in Canada’s Third Largest City

I’ve lived in Vancouver for 6 or 7 months now and still consider myself a new Vancouverite.  I also consider myself a decently laid-back, positive human being.  Very few things get me overly rattled, upset or angry.  I swear rarely and usually I’m good at keeping calm and going with the flow.
Unfortunately for me, one of the biggest (and most unavoidable) differences between living in a city of less than 1 million people and living in a city 4 times that size, happens to be one of the few things with the ability to get me extremely heated.  And I mean ANGRY heated, not sexy heated.

9902823That thing is traffic.

So from my own awesome experiences of driving in the city with the worst road congestion in Canada, I’ve made a list.  Because that’s what I do.

How to drive in VanCity:

    •   Forget about blinkers.  Those don’t mean shit now.  You might as well just break the signal arm right off.  Throw it.  Why should you have to tell anyone else what direction you’re going to forcefully propel your heavy metal driving machine full of flammable liquids? It’s none of their business.
    •  

    • Remember: Your time is exponentially more valuable than anyone else’s on the road.  So drive in a way that fucking shows it.
    •  

    • It’s always good to know how to properly formulate deep penetrating insults, should you get in a shouting match with another driver or a pedestrian, which is way more likely.  ( I have a whole thing about pedestrians just wait for it. )  ‘ Adjective – vulgar word – noun ‘ usually does the trick.  Don’t be afraid to get creative, if its good enough it’ll haunt them for years.  See chart below.

      from Reddit
      from Reddit


    • Highway 1 during rush hour = parking lot
      Highway 1 all other times = autobahn
    •  

    • Avoid rush hour like the plague.  Not a joke.  This shit will literally make you Dave Grohl in the video for “Walk”.  Which might actually get you home faster but is still an expensive and irrational move.  But you’ll still make that move because you’re not thinking clearly due to breathing in pure exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke for the last hour.
    •  

    • So far I’ve gathered that diamond lanes are for buses, sometimes motorcycles, people with passengers and assholes? Is that right?
    •  

    • It makes me angry even writing about this next one.
      Pedestrians.
      These idiots are gonna run onto the streets, cross wherever they fucking feel, friggin’ slalom in between cars stopped at reds and everything short of having  a picnic on your hood.  This is 3 times worse anywhere near a beach and ESPECIALLY down East Hastings.  One time on Hastings I saw a guy so high on meth that he skateboarded into the front of an oncoming Eurovan and tried to walk away with a broken leg. Yeah. Meth: not even once.

 

    • Cyclists are a whole other thing, I could write a whole article on specifically them.  They’re gonna do whatever the f they want with complete disregard for road traffic food chain so just try not to hit them, I guess.
    • All lights more like guidelines. Greens are green. Flashing greens are also green. Yellows are greener. Reds are redish.

 
Traffic aside, Vancouver is a great city with lots to see and tons to do. This place has become my home over the last half year and I cant imagine living anywhere else. If I drove a helicopter, monster truck or a flying dragon it would be perfect.

How to Drive in Canada’s Third Largest City

Turd Polishing & Baby Killing

golden_turd_2014If you’re a creative professional, you already know this game.
Turd Polishing and Baby Killing are two concepts that were laughable in college but have since become my reality as a freelance web developer.  I’ve been freelancing for about a year and a half, since I graduated college (Canadian college – before you get unnecessarily proud of me) so my career is still young but trust me – when you’ve been thrown in without warning, you learn fast or die.

Turd Polishing:  The art of trying to make other peoples shitty ideas (or content) look good.

This is something my film instructor in college used to say when we were trying to cut together a decent video using mediocre shots.

“You can’t make great video out of lousy shots.  If you’re shots aren’t equally as great, you’re just polishing turds.”

The term just stuck with me (insert gross poop joke here).

I worked for an agency in Winnipeg, Manitoba for a short while and through my experience there, I can say that you will definitely do this more if you are freelancing.  This is because when you are freelancing clients tend to see you as more of a scribe if you’re not working alongside a team of creatives and under a flock of well dressed c-suites.  When the truth is, some of us just work better solo.

It’s because of this thinking clients like to assume the role of creative and bring you their fucking crafts.  Brace yourself, as the following are true stories:

“Here’s a bag of product where I slapped my new label overtop of part of my old label, you can take product pictures of this right?” (Nope.)

“I made this flyer in Microsoft Publisher.  I want the website design to be similar so I can still use these.” ( F nope. )

And my personal favorite (I’ve heard this more than once) :

“I whipped this up in Paint…” (pls exit)

I haven’t yet found a polite way to tell clients that by bringing me Paint JPEGs, you are only embarrassing yourself.  If you’re going to bring in something you “whipped up” in Paint you might as well just draw it on your driveway in sidewalk chalk.  At least that would make for an interesting meeting.

Baby Killing : Coming up with awesome, revolutionary design and function only to have the client reject it.

This concept was introduced to me by a rather well known developer I met in Toronto in 2012.  At that point my dev career was but a fetus and I had no idea that this man was speaking the damn truth.

You’re going to come up with a lot of effing awesome ideas (because you’re a genius, obviously) that are gonna get shot down.  Unless you’re the ultimate salesperson or a wizard, this is unavoidable.  After the first like 5, you’ll learn not to get too emotionally attached.  Unplug the digital umbilical cord.  Store these ideas, use them elsewhere.  It’s not your fault you’re smarter than everyone else.

I’m not saying web development & being a creative professional is all bad.  Obviously I enjoy what I do and find it very rewarding, otherwise I wouldn’t do it.  If you’re any good at whatever it is you do, you’ll have a lot more successes than polishing sessions and more happy clients than slayings. But this crap is just more fun to read about.

Turd Polishing & Baby Killing

Moving out of Manitoba taught me things.

Stevie in Kamloops Lookout point just outside of Kamloops BC. Hands down the most beautiful place I’ve seen in real life.

Early this year, I sold/gave away/abandoned all my belongings that wouldn’t fit in my tiny, red, Ford Focus. Keeping only my computers (necessary to work), clothes (necessary to make appearances in public) and an ungodly amount of protein bars and dried fruit. I’m proud to say that Winter 2014 was the time I finally said “FTW” (fuck this weather), left my beautiful and enormous house in the heart of Franco-Winnipeg and made the road my new home.

I can actually say that for one month (not just any month – but January) I was actually homeless. By day I would drive and by night I slept on the chesterfields of my gracious friends and family (a few times in my car as it got warmer the further west I got, my parents don’t know this). I stretched the almost 24 hour total drive into a 3-week-long depth-of-winter adventure. That’s right – I survived being homeless… in January… in Canada. It turned out to be the most defining road trip in my entire existence thus far.

I was feeling grateful the other day and made a list of the most important things this move has taught me:

– Leaving all that is familiar to you could be the best thing you’ll ever do. The world is full of opportunity and you have to get out there and take advantage. Even though it sucks to leave your friends and family. Which brings me to my next point…

– Real friends will find a way to be in your life no matter what. You’re going to lose friends when you move, that’s a fact. You’ll realize that with most of those people the only thing you really had in common was geographic location (and a soft spot for jagermeister) and to these people you are out of sight and out of mind. Real friendships know not distance. Your real friends are the ones that still text you everything about their day, you still talk on the phone to regularly, and are the first ones to offer to pick you up at the airport. They are the ones that will make an effort to be a constant presence in your life. : )

– Google maps does not always know best. Just because it’s a route on Google Maps doesn’t mean its a road. Sometimes its a fucking dirt horse trail on a cliff on the side of a mountain, mere meters away from certain death at all times. Should you find yourself in this situation, let me tell you from experience – DO NOT CRY. It will impair your vision causing you to pull over (or just stop because you’re not actually on a road) which will cause the locals to ride up to you on their horses BUT don’t be fooled! They don’t want to see if you’re okay as much as they just want to steal your hubcaps. Also no cell service for 5 hours. So if you die out there, you’re just dead. Thats it. Nobody knows.
BTW this “highway” is called the BC- 99 N. So you’ve been warned, it may say it’s 2 hours faster but it’s not worth the emotional distress and premature forehead lines.

– You learn the most about yourself and grow as a person when you are out of your comfort zone. Which leads into my next point…

– When you move to a new place nobody knows you! Take advantage of this and do things you wouldn’t normally do. If you embarrass yourself who cares! Nobody knows or gives a shit about you and this is a blessing.

– The Hills Have Eyes movie may or may not have been based on the small town of Barriere, British Columbia. (Don’t go there and definitely don’t stay at a Knights Inn there)

– Things do not make you happy. It’s a cliche, for sure, but hear me out. Materially, I have almost nothing compared to what I owned in Manitoba. I still have a car, a couple thousand dollars in computer equipment and some other things but I look at them now as a blessing, not a necessity. When you have nothing you are free.

Now, don’t worry. I’m no longer homeless. I have a place in North Vancouver, so basically I live on the side of a mountain and I’ve never been happier in my entire life.
So yeah – suck it Winnipeg.
Just kidding.
I love Manitoba, I’ll be a Manitoban all my life.
I still rock an MB license plate. Partially because my car won’t pass aircare but mostly PRIDE!
Any of my new Vancouver friends would say I’m living proof that you can take the girl out of the prairies… but your Brandon, MB roots will haunt you all your life.

: )

Moving out of Manitoba taught me things.