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.

Life

An Hour at Cafe Blanca

There’s a cool hip place at the edge of Calgary’s Chinatown and across Eau Claire Market called Cafe Blanca. They’re most known for their Siphon coffee which I unfortunately did not remember to try. Instead, I ordered a plain normal latte and a cheesecake.

Now, I’m not cheesecake expert but I’m definitely a cheesecake lover. I got myself a mint chocolate cheesecake. It was extremely delicious. It was a little more cake than I prefer (the base was an actual chocolate cake and yes, cake, not brownie) and not as much cheese as I’d like. Still, very good.

I have a very love-hate relationship with lattes. Some lattes are great. All lattes will leave me with an upset stomach, which I somehow manage to forget every time I order one. This latte was simply okay. I don’t really know what I would expect otherwise. But it was pretty good.

The actual space is great. The atmosphere is pretty chill. The tables are long and huge which is great for big groups or activities like paint night or Meetups. There’s also spaces for individuals as well which are nice and isolated. I gotta give props for the music selection, I distinctly heard Joanna Wang playing at one point, Wild World is my guess.

My only hitch was I had no idea where to put my dirty dishes. I ended up putting it in a tub neear their counter. I hope that’s the right place to put them. I even turned to Google Images for assistance on the layout of the place. But that part of my visit is just the social anxiety talking.

Life

Paint Nite Calgary at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club

One of the interns at my workplace suggested going painting as an activity that we could all do together. It seemed fun so we decided to give it a try! Paint Nite is a series of painting events held at bars, each session hosted by different people.

That day we went to Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club which is a few minutes walk from Victoria Park Stampede. We were really confused about the food since there was no (or incorrect) information on the website. The food there is actually pretty good but definitely not enough to fill you up. Take “appetizers” literally. We ordered chicken wings, potato skins,and nachos. The potato skins were absolutely delicious but only around 6 slices were made.

The painting itself was a lot of fun! Our instructor that we had, Kim, was really patient, upbeat, and personable. She was certainly very energetic which I appreciated. Her instructions were extremely clear and I liked how she put a positive spin on everything.

What we were paitning was a moon looking over the ocean. It was fairly simple but we got the job done. This is was my painting ended up looking like at the end of it.

All in all, it was a lot of fun! I would definitely go for another day. It is a little bit pricy, $45CAD before tax not including the food and drinks. Coupons are readily available however but do save this for a special ocassion!

Life

Art, Food, and Good Old Bowling

At the company where I’m doing an internship right now offered all the interns the opportunity to go to their downtown location and give us a tour of all the art. It seems a little weird to give art tours in an office environment but once we stepped into the building, it made sense. There was art on every single floor of the building (of which there are over ten floors) and almost every single wall has a piece of art hanging on it.

The art collection is unique in that all the artists are Canadian or, at least, immigrants who have spent most of their lives in Canada (almost all of Canada is made up of immigrants anyway).

When I think of Canadian art, the first thing that comes to mind are landscapes. I honestly find that to be a little bit boring and winter scenes get a little tiresome after a while. There was definitely no lack of landscapes in this art collection but a lot of them resonated with me in a way that I didn’t think they would.

Some of the paintings that I remember seeing off the top of my head are Christopher Pratt’s Driving to Venus from Eddie’s Cove East, a couple of paintings from Jack Bush, a painting from Marion Nicoll, a lot of William Kurelek paintings, a fascinating Jean-Paul Riopelle painting, and much more.

The art curator definitely enhanced the experience. She was filled to the brim with knowledge and had something to say about each and every painting. I was honestly so entranced by her. Although she was an older woman, she seemed to be very youthful while remaining very serious. I think I fell in love for a little bit. She had a sort of energy that I appreciate.

After the art tour, us interns made our way to a drink and bowl bar. There wasn’t another lane until 9pm so we opted to eat a little before heading downstairs to the bowling lane. And by “a little” I really mean a lot. I ordered fried chicken and biscuits because I was totally craving biscuits. The chicken were huge and I got three pieces of them. It was honestly delicious. I also bought mozza sticks which were amazing. Of course, drunk bowling isn’t real drunk bowling without a couple of drinks. I got a orange ginger beer and an alcoholic strawberry lemonade drink. All very yummy.

Once we went downstairs, the bowling ensued. I haven’t bowled in years. It was the first time I used the bigger bowling balls. They were so heavy that when I threw them, they slowly rolled down the lane.

Overall, it was a good and fun night. Honestly, the highlight was the art tour. It’s nice to stop and appreciate creative works once in a while. I hope that I can put as much passion into my own career as these artists do.

Life

Where Can I Get Coffee After Five in this City?

I found myself in downtown with cancelled plans the other day. I didn’t have to be home for another two hours so I decided to try a new coffee place. It was around five in the evening. I pulled up Google Maps and searched for coffee.

Scrolling through the list, I found that most of the coffee places closed at 5:00PM or 6:00PM. I needed a place to sit and blog hop for a little bit so that was no good. Even Starbucks closed pretty early!

From the list, I picked a couple of the coffee shops that were still open and just a 15 minute walk away from my current spot. When I went up to them, I discovered that they were actually closed for the day or closed for forever. Great.

In the end, I just went to the mall that had a Tim Hortons that was guaranteed to be open past 7pm. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the vibe I wanted as it was crowded with strangely energetic construction workers who just ended the day but it did the job. I could sit down, drink some coffee, nibble on a donut, and comment on some blogs.

I wonder why some places close so early? I read somewhere that Calgary has a horrible night life and I just might have to agree. Downtown is honestly the last place I imagined to have places closing up early. In fact, I would have assumed the opposite!

My SO and I actually ran into similar problems during Valentine’s Day. We didn’t want to go to a restaurant but instead wanted to go do something. There were a couple of galleries we wanted to go to but they all close at 5:30pm. We would never make it there on time.

I know people want to go home to their loved ones at night but what about night owls like myself who want to put off going home but still enjoy a nice and quiet atmosphere? Okay, maybe I’m asking for too much.