Life

Nominated for the Liebster Award

I remember a couple of years ago I thought it was so prestigious to be nominated for the Liebster award. Now I realize it’s less of an award and more of tool to interact with fellow bloggers, which I enjoy a lot more! I got nominated by Sakura @ ViolinStar.NET!

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.
  2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”.
  3. Write a 150-300 word post about your favourite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog, provide links.
  4. Provide 10 random facts about yourself. (This year I’m making this optional. If you wish to engage with your readers it’s a great idea to include random facts about you.)
  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 200 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
  6. List these rules in your post.
  7. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post.
  8. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
  9. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

My Favourite Blog

Honestly, I don’t know if I have a favourite blog because I like a lot of different blogs for different reasons. I will have to say however that the blog that I enjoy the most at the moment is Crochetbug which is run by Leslie. I love how she seamlessly weaves in her crochet with philosophical musings about life or events in her life. Her anecdotes are very heartfelt and touching which I think comes from a place of wisdom and experience that I sometimes don’t see with the younger bloggers. Her posts also have a weirdly calming effect on me. The contemplative nature makes me feel like I want to slow down for a bit to smell the roses.

Of course, I love looking at the process behind her creations. Leslie is very talented and endlessly creative. Her crocheting is inspiring and I always want to pick up my latest work in progress after reading her posts!

I won’t lie, I aspire to become a craft blogger like her but at the same time, I love blogging about other topics that kind of make it hard to tie into crafts. Maybe I’m just not innovative enough!


1. When did you start blogging?
I don’t remember the exact date. I first started blogging on geekstinkbreath.net, which was a Green Day fansite where members could post journals about their day. I never saved my very first postasts, I wish I did. However, when the admins for the site opened up a writing website, I started to save those journals. The oldest post I could find is this one from January 2007 but it is definitely not the first!

2. What is your current motivation to blog?

At the moment, I blog because I want to document my life. I know a lot of people blog because they have something important to say, want to share resources, or make sweet cash. However, to me, blogging is a journaling medium. This is the main reason why I am so bad at networking with other bloggers. The main audience I’m writing for is my future self!

3. How long have you been blogging?

It’s been over 10 years now, almost 11 years. I can’t believe how fast time flies.

4. What are you favourite sports?

I don’t have a sport that I like to do, unfortunately. I’m pretty averse to physical activity despite the fact that I’ve been trying to go the gym more regularly. However, I love watching figure skating! It’s the winter sport that I am most passionate about.

5. What is your favourite hobby at the moment?

Right now I’ve been crocheting up a storm! I love crocheting and I love the act of creating.

6. How do you spend your free/off days?

There’s really no rhyme or reason to how I spend my free time. Sometimes I crochet and knit. Sometimes I play video games. Other times I go and hang out with my SO. Right now my free days are a combination of all the above!

7. Do you play any instruments?

Yes I do! I play the flute. Well, I guess you could say I used to play the flute as I haven’t touched it since I graduated high school. I’m not sure if I’d like to take it up again. Playing the flute was sort of forced upon me.

8. What is the last gadget that you bought for yourself?

My laptop! I even wrote a post about it.

9. Eye, lips, cheeks, foundation makeup – what do you like the most?

I don’t wear foundation so I wouldn’t know… I’ve been trying to get into makeup but it’s very overwhelming and the initial investment is too much for my meager budget. When my income isn’t $0 then I’ll consider it.

10. Are you the daydream or realistic kind of person?

Strangely enough, I’m both, if that’s possible! I love to daydream and fantasize about extremely unrealistic scenarios. For example, meeting celebrities and living the fancy rich life of an actress even though I can’t act to convince a small child! At the same time, when it comes to goals that I really want to pursue for myself, I’m pretty much realistic and know my own limits.

11. Do you like shopping?

This is a big resounding yes! I used to say I didn’t, especially for clothes, but unfortunately I’ve become a little more materialistic since then. I do like shopping around for cute clothes, cool gadgets, soft yarn, household appliances, etc.


Honestly, I don’t have anyone to nominate that hasn’t already been nominated recently! So to whoever is reading this now, you’ve been nominated!

My Questions:

1. What is your song of the moment?
2. How many times do you usually blog in a month?
3. What is the hardest thing about writing a blog post?
4. How long do you spend walking on a typical day?
5. What’s one thing you wish you could start doing more regularly?
6. What is the last thing you’ve tried to do and didn’t like?
7. How would you describe your blogging style?
8. What colour gives you the most comfort?
9. How many glasses of water do you drink in a day?
10. Do you use streaming services like Spotify, Netflix, Crunchyroll, etc.?
11. What is your favourite place to go to (can be a city, shop, place in your house, etc.)?

Life · Organization

Forever Tinkering with My Productivity System

I follow the blog baty.net in which Jack Baty continuously finds new tools and new ways to improve his productivity. While I usually scoff at people who are always changing things up, I will admit that I am the exact same way. It would be great to just stick to something tried and true and never have to think about changing but there is just so much out there that it’s hard for me to resist the temptation to not try everything I can see. I have gone through Filofaxes, Bullet Journal-esque planners, Google Calendar, regular paper agendas, post it notes, back to Bullet Journals, etc.

“Bullet Journals” and Paper Planners

In it’s simplest state, the Bullet Journal is an analog system for rapid logging. You have a thought or task, you write it down, and (hopefully) come back to it later to deal with it. Without a few tweaks, it’s not the greatest for future planning. It’s real use case is capturing at the moment. I have tried both minimalistic Bullet Journal and all out “unrecognizable as a Bullet Journal” planning and I found it too hard to keep up with and check on regularly, especially with the latter. I would write something down and never look at it again or I would be too daunted with drawing out daily/weekly/monthly layouts.

For a period I did somewhat automate dealing with layouts by printing a whole year during my Winter break. I would meticulously design a layout in Photoshop, export it to a PDF, print it, cut it, and punch holes. It was a lot of effort for a system that I only ended up using for a couple of months but when I did use it, it worked well for me.

I also had success with store bought planners. My second year of university I used a planner for the entire year. However when the school year ended, I was bored with the system and wanted to try something new. I was lured in by the Filofax craze and fantasized about using a planner that could also be my wallet. Even now as I look at the Filofax website after not visiting it for so long, I’m drooling over the pretty planners (someone please take my wallet away from me). However that was even more short lived and I converted my would be planner-wallet into just a wallet.

Google Calendar

What I loved about Google Calendar was seeing my entire week at a glance down to the last hour. However, the way I used it, it was unsustainable and lacked the detail I needed. While it was easy to change things around, sometimes an unexpected event would throw off my entire day and a result, throw me off from my productivity. Taking away time from something else gave me a little bit of an existential crisis that I didn’t have with other productivity systems.

Still, it was great getting those notifications and being able to sync across device and basically have my entire life without me wherever I go. I haven’t forgotten my phone at home for many years now and I recently got data in my phone plan and a rechargeable battery pack so it really is with me 24/7. Eventually though, I just stopped using it and went for a while without using any sort of productivity system at all.

Org mode

As I have mentioned before, I recently started using emacs and got sucked into the world of Org mode. The customizability of Org mode excites me and I love having everything in plain text and available at the terminal. Like Google Calendars, it’s pretty much with me everywhere I go, with the help of Dropbox and SSH-ing into my private server. I love the task and habit functions built in and while it was daunting to learn at first, I quickly got the hang of it.

So, for now, I am using Org mode. It’s working well for me but who knows what ship I’ll jump onto next? Maybe one day I will find the one that works for me until the end of time but I doubt it.

Crochet · Knitting · Life

I’m a Little Behind

A couple of days ago I was behind on my granny squares for my temperature blanket. If you don’t know, temperature blankets consist of one square a day and each square represents the temperature of that day. Thankfully, it’s easy to catch up with temperature blankets! Even though I’m caught up with the squares, I still haven’t woven the ends in yet nor have I joined them. Eek!

Last week I was babysitting my little cousin and he was playing with my yarn. He made a “bunny” and asked me to give it eyes and a nose. I tried my best with what I was given. I wasn’t satisfied but my cousin was so impressed. I love how innocent he is.

Lately I’ve been thinking how fast he’s growing up. He just recently turned 11 and he’s already almost as tall as me! Now that he’s older he’s less receptive to my affections which is a little disheartening to me since he is still so cute and sweet!

If I never have kids, I’d think I’d be content with it because I am surrounded by kids in my extended family and I’ve already watched many of them grow up. We celebrated my cousin’s birthday over the weekend. She just turned 19 and I still marvel over how it seemed like she was a small little girl just yesterday. The same goes for her brother. He’s going into grade twelve this year and I just can’t believe it. We went to a night market at our mall recently and my brother, cousin, and I just walked around by ourselves talking. It’s amazing to me how he has grown into his own person. Of course, while we were there, we got to chow down on some delicious food. I got a burger at Bandit Burger and it was absolutely delicious.

The next day we went to the park to celebrate my cousin’s birthday and we spent almost eight hours there. There was a lot of eating and we took a walk and just chatted together. We even took a nap under the tree from the food overload. It was pretty relaxing and I even sat by the water’s edge to knit for a little bit.

One of my older cousins saw me knitting and asked if I could make her daughter a hat. I said yes! I’m a little nervous because I’ve never had anyone ask me to make anything before but I would love to make my second cousin a hat. My cousin’s daughter requested that it be pink. I have no pink yarn! I guess I’ll be shopping around for pink yarn soon.

Crochet · Knitting · Life

STASH Lounge Moving and Other Outings

Yesterday STASH Lounge opened up at their new location across the street. I dragged my brother along with me to the opening.

It was absolutely lovely! They had a DJ play some music in the background, a coffee bar, and a table of yummy sweets in the back. They even had door prizes, which I suspect I didn’t win anything from but that’s totally okay.

In terms of the space, it’s great! It’s absolutely spacious while also filled to the brim with yarn. I enjoyed the rustic decorations like the vintage crates and items like typewriters. There are shelves upon shelves of yarn. Near the register there is a wall dedicated to various knitting and crochet accessories. There’s another wall where yarn is hung on, absolutely covering the entire space. It was incredibly cozy and it still retained it’s intimate feel as their previous location.

At first I was going in there thinking I wouldn’t buy anything but then I decided that it would be rude not to! After much contemplation and running through the patterns I want to try in my mind, I decided on two skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Barn Owl. This was after eating a couple of macaroons and cookies while walking through the crowded store. These two skeins will make my very first knitted hat!

With my purchase, I even got a free reusable bag! It’s so sturdy and pretty. I think it will be a project bag or a maybe a library bag. We’ll see.

That day I also went to the park with some relatives. I finally gave the blanket I made for my cousin’s newborn son and my cousin was head over heels over it! She said it was like store quality which made me blush a little. I am very pleased that she was happy with it.

I also biked around Fish Creek park for two hours with my dad. We decided to take a different route than we usually do. It was a really nice bike ride although maybe a little bit too hot! We even stopped for ice cream at Annie’s. I’ve never been before but it’s a sweet little cafe just off the bike path. The ice cream scoops are huge! I definitely got my money’s worth from it.

Annie's does not skimp on the ice cream! Eating back all the calories I burnt from biking lmao

A post shared by Edel Altares (@edelgraceme) on

All in all, yesterday was a very good day!

Crochet · Life

First Time Crocheting on a Road Trip

Over the weekend I went to Drumheller with the family. Up to this point I haven’t had a chance to go on a long road trip with my crochet. I started this ripple afghan a couple of days ago with Bernat Blanket Stripes yarn. This blanket is intended for my cousins’s newborn son. I guess he isn’t quite so newborn now but every baby could use a blanket regardless! I actually restarted this blanket once or twice but I finally got the hang of it while on this trip.

The drive to Drumheller from Calgary isn’t completely long, just under two hours, but I managed to get a decent amount of rows done. It was a very relaxing and productive way to spend my time other than just sleeping. I have to admit, there were times when I felt sleepy enough to pass out but I kept through with it! It didn’t help that it was lightly raining at one point as well. But I plugged in my headphones and played a little bit of The Strokes and some Utada to keep me awake.

Life

Stampede Food

Honestly, Stampede is synonymous with food for me. Stampede means free breakfasts for a week. Usually these breakfasts consists of pancakes and sausages. We ended up going to six of these breakfasts. Some of them were worth it, some of them weren’t. One of them actually ended up being $250 because my brother got fined for forgetting to validate his train ticket on the way to a breakfast. But still, a lot of pancakey goodness!

Since I was babysitting my cousin, we didn’t go to any stampede breakfasts since they required some travel. Instead, I cooked them up homemade stampede breakfast! Basically just Eggo waffles, bacon, and eggs. Instead of maple syrup, I just made some strawberry sugar spread.

waffles

Okay I thought I didn’t want to go to the Stampede this year but I did end up going with my cousin, brother, and mom. We just went for two hours. We ate a lot of food and bought home lottery tickets.

The different foods we tried were:

Reuben Corndogs
I didn’t take any pictures but this was a bit of a disappointment. A hotdog wrapped in one slice of Swiss cheese then covered with corn flour. I was hoping for more cheese but it under-delivered.

Fried Cheese Sticks
Oh. My. Goodness. I fell in love with these sticks. I cannot resist anything deep fried. All this cheese definitely made up for the lack of cheese in the corndogs. We bought cheddar and mozzarella sticks. The cheddar was full of flavour and very sharp. However the mozzarella was full of gooey goodness and was a lot more fried. I loved them both!

cheese sticks

Deep Fried Cheesecake
I am a cheesecake lover. I have said this for years but cheesecake is the way to my heart. Deep fried cheesecake wasn’t on my radar until my brother pointed it out and I knew immediately that I had to try it. It was pretty yummy but basically a cheesecake wrapped in a pastry and then fried. It fell a little short of my expectations but was still super yummy!

deep fried cheesecake

Until next year, maybe, Stampede. I will miss you and your glorious food!

Crochet · Life

Day Out in Pre-Stampede Rush

I went to the first pancake breakfast of the season with my family the other day. It was close to home which was a great bonus because my dad had the car for work. The breakfast wasn’t busy at all but maybe being fairly early was a factor. They only served pancakes and sausage patties but they were pretty good! There was also a Tim Hortons truck giving out free coffee and hot chocolate. I’m not one for straight up coffee (my favourite is French Vanillas) so I just opted for some hot chocolate.

After that I went to the library to return a library book and just sat and wound some yarn for a bit while looking at craft magazines. Since there was a Michaels nearby, I couldn’t resist using my coupon for some hooks, stitch markers, and pins. All which I desperately needed. Who knew stitch markers could get so lost easily…? ALSO, libraries have magazines which is so cool! I was debating subscribing to some crochet, knitting, or general craft magazines but now I definitely won’t (sorry, magazines).

Then my brother and I went to Tim Horton’s for some lunch and I headed over to Y’s! While there I got to finish my July afghan square which was pretty relieving. I didn’t follow it to a tee but I made do with what I made. Expect a post on this square eventually!

We ended up going to the local museum as they offer free nights every first Thursday of the month. I regret not taking a lot of pictures but I did take pictures of my favourite pieces. All mineral related. I have a soft spot for rocks because when I was younger, I had a geology phase and would look at minerals literally all day. The ones they had on display were extremely gorgeous.

Above is a picture of a fossilized ammonite!

This is just plain old quartz but I fell in love with the colour!

What surprised me the most was the silver because I never imagines silver to look so dark! I also enjoyed the carvings made out of the rocks. The skill required to make some of them blows my mind.

There were other exhibitions, mostly pertaining to historical artifacts. A lot of weapons, clothing, models, masks, etc. My second favourite exhibit is the one of the old fashioned trains that would travel across the country. I really fantasize about sleeping on a bed on a train. It just looked so cozy. One of these days!

Overall, I had a pretty good day. The heat wave just started and Stampede is about to begin so I don’t think I’ll be able to enjoy an outing until all that is over.

Knitting · Life

Kits and Knits

Last week was the end of final exams and on my last exam, I decided to take a well deserved day out. In celebration of Canada Day, Tim Hortons was bringing back Roll Up the Rim for a time. I’m trying to cut down on my coffee but I decided to get at least one cup, just to try my luck. Turns out that my luck isn’t that so great.

First Roll Up the Rim for Canada's 150! No dice. Oh well, it has a nice message at least.

A post shared by Edel Altares (@edelgraceme) on

Michaels was also celebrating Canada Day a little bit early. They were giving out generous coupons for a couple of days and the end of the season meant tons of clearances on yarn.

I managed to grab some discontinued Loops & Threads Zigzag yarn to practice my knitting with. I ended up knitting a ball. It turned out to be not that great but I see it as a learning experience.

After my little shopping trip I met up with Y and we went to the cat cafe that recently opened up in town. The place itself is gorgeous. The cat room was separated from the cafe. Kind of a small place but rather good when you consider what the space is used for. There were only a couple of cats there and they were all pretty lazy and hungry the whole time. Some of the cats were feeling a little playful and pounced on the feather toys. It was disappointing a bit but it was also nice being around a lot of cats.

Look at these kitties just sleeping and eating!

Overall, it was a nice day. I got to spend time with people I value, got to indulge in my hobby for a bit, and was surrounded by cats! Honestly, that’s the dream.

Life

25 Before 25: Update #1

I took a little break during the month of May. My mental health was honestly at an all time low and I found myself having a hard time picking myself back up to get motivated to actually do things. Since I am around 6 months into my 22nd year of living, I thought it would be a good time to pause and reflect how I’m doing with my 25 before 25. I only two and a half years left after all.

1. Graduate from university: Good progress
I am on track with this, thankfully! So far I am passing all of my courses and seem to look good to graduate at the end of the year. I still need to register for one more course in September but I’m having trouble finding a course that I am interested in that won’t conflict with other courses.

2. Move out of my parents’ house: No progress
My moving out fund is slowly getting chipped away due to paying for tuition. I still need a job secured for this summer. I really want to get one ASAP so I can get that cash flow going.

3. Max out my TFSA: Some progress
When I was on internship, I put most of my paycheque into my TFSA. I still have a ways to go before maxing out my TFSA but I definitely have the funds in there. They will not be touched for a while.

4. Open a RRSP account: No progress
This won’t happen until I get a semi-permanent job and I don’t see that happening until I graduate. Fingers crossed.

5. Get a full time job in my field: No progress
This also won’t happen until I graduate.

6. Read 150 books/50 books per year: Good progress
This year I have read around 36 books. There are still half a year left so I’d say I’m ahead of the game for this year.

7. Finish the Dragon Age series: Little progress
I started playing The Witcher 3 and unfortunately, most of my gaming time has been spent on that. This has been a good reminder for me to boot up Origins sometime soon.

8. Make my own TCG: No progress
I haven’t had a lot of time to code lately but I need to get started planning this seriously. Maybe I will dedicate this weekend to do so.

9. Finish my Pomodoro app project: No progress
As said before, haven’t done a lot of coding this year. I also need to draw a good plan for this.

10. Make a book review website: No progress
Woah, look at all these projects I haven’t started on yet. I need to figure out which project to prioritize first. This website has been a long time coming but the TCG will be the most work. We’ll see.

11. Get my driver’s license: No progress
Have yet to sit in the driver’s seat yet this year. I have to check my learner’s permit and see when it expires. I need a teacher and my poor father is reluctant to teach me because I am unsafe.

12. Make friends outside of the tech bubble: Negligible progress
My mental health stumbling block last month has done a lot for me to trip up on this. I am struggling with making friends in general right now and I’m finding it extremely hard. I started going to crochet meetups and will hopefully go regularly enough to make a friend or two.

13. Get fit: Some progress
In May I felt like I regressed a lot but I am starting to go back to the gym. Yesterday I went to the gym on campus and my nerves only got me to do some cardio on the machines but I did something which was relieving.

14. Floss more regularly: No progress
Nope. Hasn’t happened yet. Starting today.

15. Drink. More. Water.: Some progress
When I was sitting around at work, I was drinking a lot of water. Now back at school, I’m finding it hard to remember to drink water. In fact, I’m thirsty right now. I will go and get some water right now. Water break!

16. Learn how to actually cook: Little progress
My mom left the country to go the Philippines in May. I got some opportunities to cook. Just really small things. Made pizza, chicken wings, breakfast. Nothing hardcore.

17. Travel internationally without family: No progress
I need that cash first and foremost.

18. Konmari ALL of my things: No progress
This summer vacation, for sure.

19. Get drunk for the first time: Almost there
I got tipsy once so far. It was weird. Almost there. One day.

20. Get my CCNA certification: No progress
I kinda gave up my CCNA courses so I just might start to study on my own.

21. Attend Zoo Lights: No progress
It’s the start of summer so I will have to wait until winter comes back around to go to Zoo Lights.

22. Get a grasp on my depression: Some progress
I am currently doing some counseling to combat this. Also taking part of an online cognitive behavioural therapy course. Exercise will hopefully help as well.

23. Continue my pen pal relationships: No progress
I’m such a bad pen pal. 🙁 Gah! I don’t have a P.O. box anymore and I’m not entirely comfortable not using one. We’ll see.

24. Go to a concert: No progress
Haven’t seen any concerts that caught my eye yet. Wait, let me check right now. Nope, nothing catches my eye at the moment.

25. Make a dent in my to-watch movie list: Some progress
I watched Ella Enchanted. That’s one out of many, right?

Life

Book Blogger Hop #16


Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme run by Coffee Addicted Writer. Every Friday, a question is posted for the book blog community to discuss. This week’s question is…

Would you stop reading a book if an element of the plot strongly clashed with your personal beliefs, or would you continue reading until you finished the book?

I would definitely finish the book. At least, that’s what I think and hope I would do. As long as the book is good, I will keep on reading it. For example, I finished Jodi Picoult’s Songs of the Humpback Whale although the personal choices of the characters did not fit in at all with my moral values. It definitely made me like the book and characters a lot less, unfortunately, but I did plow through to the end because the book was still good enough for me to want to know the rest of it.

Most books I read nowadays are either very recent or classics. It’s easier for me to brush off elements that clash with my personal beliefs in classics because “that’s just how it was back then.” I still feel a slight offense but nine out of ten times, things are better now so there’s also a feeling of relief.

In terms of modern stories, I think most instances where this happens, it’s to demonstrate a positive message or to spread awareness.

So no, something must be very bad in order for me to drop the book.