Strolling With My Homies… Part 1: Downtown Toronto

Hello Poppets!

I’m very excited for this post as it’s the first in a new blog series I’m embarking on, called “Strolling With My Homies” based on the “wildly popular” book series by Nathalie Prézeau, “Toronto Urban Strolls…for Girlfriends”. I happened upon this book in my local Chapters and decided I would go on every one of Nathalie’s 28 Toronto walks stopping at every one of her suggested pit stops. SUMMER GOALS!

For this experiment, every stroll I go on must include a girlfriend or suitable alternative. Otherwise, what am I really doing here. On stroll 1, I was accompanied by one of my most favourite people, my friend Kate! She was the perfect partner for the first stroll because she has the same love for exploring that I do, and the same ability to pause reality for a few hours to pretend that the places we are visiting are not ones we see every day, but fresh new places like we are tourists in an exciting foreign city!

Stroll 1: Downtown

Full Loop: 4.6 km (1 hr, 10 minutes, but it took us 5 hours because we ate and gossiped and took elaborate photo shoots also)

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Katie Mae: Navigator

This stroll starts at Roy Thompson Hall, goes east along King St. then takes you down through the Courtyards in and around the Financial District, spitting you out near Front St. near the Esplanade, where you walk back West towards the CBC building (which is perfect because Kate HAPPENS to work at the CBC and gave me an exclusive tour of the building).

LET US BEGIN. (Story told mostly through photo captions because I don’t have all day!)

Stroll 1 of 28 complete!

Ugly: I guess I’ll say that the construction downtown in this area at the moment was not the greatest, but then again, looking back over the photos, I don’t notice it at all. Also, it did rain for a hot minute but that wasn’t even bad because it forced us down into a warm and cozy pub for brownies. Can’t actually see the downside there…

Awesome: I just really loved this day! Most of these routes I’ve walked a thousand times in the 14 years I’ve lived in Toronto, but this was a great way to prove to myself, there’s still so much I walk past but take for granted. I flipped a switch in my brain this day to really look around and take things in – the landscape, the atmosphere, the architecture, the art and try to experience it like it was brand new to me. And I was surprised by how many things I’ve never noticed! Also Kate was the perfect stroll companion and I hope she will do many more strolls with me!

Welcome to The Century Club!

Hey guys, guess what? This is my 100th Blog Post. No biggie. Just a life goal and landmark but you know, whatevs!!! (That’s what the title was about…not drinking 100 beer shots in 100 minutes…)

Being that this is my 100th Blog Post celebration day, I get to do whatever I want. Which means posting MORE CHRISTMAS PICTURES! Even though no one wants to see them anymore!

I promise, these are the last ones. It seems that everyone is now over it (Jamie wants to take down the tree tonight!) But I need to hang on for one more week. One more sparkly, happy, festive week and then it’s back to normal home decor colours and scents that are not “peppermint” or “gingerbread”. In all honesty, it won’t be so bad – I got lots of new non-Christmas Home decorations with my gift cards, so I get to play after the Christmas stuff comes down!

The first bunch of photos is from my annual “ladies only-ish” Christmas party where some lady troopers braved their way through the snow storm to come over and eat massive amounts of food, watch movies and exchange gifts. I look forward to this party every single year and this year it snuck it’s way in right before I got sick – very lucky.

The second bunch is from my Christmas in Kingston with my family! My parents got a new kitty named Inky, who is the best. She’s very cuddly and added even more excitement to the holiday. Even though I was a bit wobbly, I had a great time and it was nice to be home where my mommy could take care of me 🙂 So spoiled.

We had a fantastic Christmas dinner with my Grandparents and Uncle, his lady friend, Nancy and our family friend (and my old doctor), Roz! We also celebrated my Mom’s birthday and I spent New Year’s Eve with my parents. All in all, a TON of awesome family time which is a rare treat.

UGLY: Christmas is over, and I’m the only one hanging on to the holly for dear life. Also, I have to get up early tomorrow!

AWESOME: It’s been a really long time since I’ve spent so much time with the folks. It felt like University when you went home for a month! Also, new Inky and old Penny – I love visiting Kitties without having to actually take care of them 🙂

And here’s a special Christmas gift from me to you on this grand occasion!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!
MERRY CHRISTMAS!

When I Compared My Christmas Tree To A Puppy.

It’s that time of year again! The time of year I walk aimlessly around the city looking at all the twinkly lights and anticipating decorating my own little blank canvas of a home. Last year, I purchased a bunch of Holiday decor because it was our first Christmas in this apartment and I wanted to take advantage of the little bit of extra space we have now. This year, I tried to re-use as much as possible and the only new things I bought were the plants for the porch and the new candle holder from Kitchen Stuff Plus (it was on sale…).

Jamie and I followed through with our annual tradition of decorating the tree while watching Sunday Night Football and I tried to make Christmas Sugar Cookies! The cookies were a success in general, but I absolutely failed on the icing front. I accidentally made the icing too thick so it was giving me a super hard time due to my tendency toward culinary ineptitude. I finally got my icing contraption to work and spent 15 minutes icing the trees. By the time that was done, I was losing patience on the snowflakes and by the time we got to the gingerbread men, I could barely motivate myself to make more than a face blob on each one. Regardless of their ugliness, they were still delicious so I count it as a flavour win, presentation fail.

UGLY: The horror-movie gingerbread monsters.

AWESOME: It’s Christmas!!! (obviously). Being in this house with twinkly lights and festive candles makes me excited about walking through my door every day. I’m pretty sure I turn on my tree lights with the same enthusiasm one would exude when meeting their puppy at the door upon returning home.

FORT FRIGHTENING TIMES OF SCARY THINGS!

When I went home for Thanksgiving last weekend, my family and I embarked on what has become a hilarious annual tradition. We attend Fort Fright at Fort Henry, where my Dad and I enjoy being mildly startled and amused and my mom practices deep breathing so as not to have a panic attack. Great fun for the whole family!

Fort Henry on a normal day is a pretty cool place where you can walk around the fort and dress up in guard’s costumes and watch the pretend soldiers re-enact the Sunset Ceremonies (where they fire rifles and cannons and march and play drums and flutes and whatnot). Educational and amusing. Good times. Anyone born in Kingston has been there at least once, most likely on a school field trip. But the BEST time of year at Fort Henry is October when they put on the best “Haunted…Fort?” I’ve ever been to. You walk around the grounds and inside the old rooms, exploring the already creepy fort, walking through scary displays with scary sounds, etc. But the scariest part is the actors walking around that stare at you or scream really loud when you walk by. Sometimes, they’ll be hiding around dark corners waiting for you so they can move in an ominous manner. For most people, this is creepy and startling and fun. For my mom, it is the worst invention of all time. She comes with us because she wants to make us happy, but truly, this is not her scene. This year, a zombie scared her so bad, she ran into a wall and lost her shoe. That is le fact.

So, if you’re looking for a super fun night time family outing, head on over to Fort Fright. And just remember: they’re not allowed to touch you.

UGLY: The clown zombie.

AWESOME: The father/daughter zombie team. She was 8. It was adorable and terrifying all at the same time.

Locks, Turkey Stocks and Two Soaking Bales (of hay).

Most of you know that I have a slight affinity for the autumn season. It has always been my favourite season, and I don’t believe this is an accident. I believe that I was raised with a healthy appreciation for the fall time.

When I was a kid, we used to go to my grandparent’s house for Thanksgiving. The drive from Kingston to Almonte was rife with auburn, red and golden leaves and even after we had arrived at our destination, we would set out again with my extended family for a “fall leaf drive”. This would result in an accumulated several hours of driving around for the express purpose of gazing upon the beauty of the season. Even after we began spending Thanksgiving at home, we tried to keep the tradition alive.

The fall leaf drive has evolved over the years – my dad and I head out for the drive early Thanksgiving morning, and at some point my mom decided she would rather stay home and make the Turkey soup (which we are forever grateful for). I’ve also become more prone to car sickness over the years so what once was a full day activity has been pared down to the better part of the morning. It’s one of the only traditions my dad and I have for just the two of us, so it’s a special event I look forward to every year. It usually involves coffee, nice radio music, a walk around somewhere lovely and contraband snacks like Ruffles chips and maple candy.

UGLY: Having to avoid winding roads for fear of barfing.

AWESOME: Maple sugar candy and the smell of wet earth 🙂

Turkey Time!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving dinner with the fam and it was such a gorgeous day out. I don’t remember the last time we had a Thanksgiving dinner where we spent half the day on the porch.

It was the perfect combination of lazy do nothingness, book reading, dinner making and dinner eating. My grandma brought over a book of old family photos and after dinner, we perused through the old photos. I had never seen some of them – of my Great Grandmother, Great Grandfather, lots of really classy looking people who came before my time. I’m going to do a whole other post on how cool my family is, so for now, enjoy the following pictures of Thanksgiving Day and half-eaten festive treats.

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!!

UGLY: The current diameter of my stomach.
AWESOME: Turkey soup, turkey sandwiches and…The Moist Maker.

Porch Envy.

Fall stuff all over my house! Fall stuff in the bathroom! Fall stuff on the porch! I want to roll around in ALL THE FALL STUFF.

So, I decorated my house for fall this week. I’ve been looking forward to it forever. However, I did NOT decorate for Halloween yet, guys. Even I have boundaries. Let the harvest have it’s moment. Then we’ll kick it into Halloween mode when it gets chillier.

Speaking of Halloween, I’m GOING TO VEGAS ON HALLOWEEN. With all the crazies! I’m so happy to be with my people! I’ll be sure to document the crap out of it, because there will be much to see, my friends. Maybe I’ll see a bunch of celebrities but I won’t even know because they’ll be in costumes. Speaking of which, costume wise, I think it’s illegal in Nevada to wear a costume that does not begin with word, “sexy”, so I’ve been trying to think of hilarious “sexy” costumes… Sexy Lobster. Sexy pumpkin. Sexy Vacuum. These things make me laugh. I think I’ll just go as the Long Island Medium.

So, on top of decorating my house this weekend, Jamie and I also dug up all our herbs and planted them in a big giant wooden bucket to be hauled inside by 7 large men for the winter time (It’s very heavy…). We also went over to Jamie’s family’s house for dinner only to find that Jamie’s mom had broken her OTHER arm and was at the ER with Jamie’s dad. That’s two arms in 1 year. Worst luck of all time. So we tried not to let her delicious meal and lovely decor go to waste and had a lovely, but bittersweet dinner. Get better soon, Nancy!

UGLY: All the arm breaking!

AWESOME: fuzzy sweaters, pumpkins, apple cider, nutmeg. red leaves, the smell of fireplace, pretty sunsets, re-using all my dollar store decorations because I’m thrifty.