Countdown to Christmas

Countdown to Christmas

It’s that time of year again- the month before Christmas. We find ourselves in the midst of a struggle of celebration vs obligation. Here is the emotional rollercoaster that follows the weeks leading up to Christmas.


Remembrance Day/ Thanksgiving is over- you are free to fully enjoy the Christmas spirit.

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You go all out, decorating, making goodies and enjoying all that the season has to offer.

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You come down quickly when you realize that Christmas is still a month away, and you still have work or exams before you can properly celebrate.

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You console yourself with a Christmas movie.

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Your Christmas cheer plateaus in the first weeks of December.

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But you quickly pass the worst of it and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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You have your first extended family member ask you something too personal and you remember the underbelly of the holidays.

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But then it’s Christmas Eve and you couldn’t care less.

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It’s finally Christmas!! Enjoy all those treats you work so hard to work off the rest of the year, be with your family and share in the spirit of the holidays!

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…and just like that, Christmas is over, and once again you are left waiting.

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Happy pre-Christmas! hope you are all spreading your pre-Christmas cheer!

B.

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Learning a Language/ Een Taal Leren

Learning a Language/ Een Taal Leren

As many of you know I am attempting to learn Dutch. A beautiful language that I really admire. So for the first time, I am attempting to write a post in both English and Dutch.


You decide you want to learn a language. Je besluit dat je wilt een taal leren.

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You start strong. Jij hebt een sterke start.

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But you quickly give up when you reach something too hard. Maar je geeft snel op als je iets te moeilijk is.

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You decide to start again after finding some inspiration. Je probeert het opnieuw nadat je hebt inspiratie gevonden.

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You really try to learn the language, and you work on it everyday. Je probeert de taal te leren en je werkt er elke dag aan.

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You start to believe that you are getting it. Je begint te geloven dat je zijn je het begrijpt.

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Until you are actually in a position of speaking the language. Totdat je de taal probeert te spreken.

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And you realize you truly know nothing. En je beseft dat je niets weet.

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This process endlessly repeats, forever. Dit proces gaat voor altijd door.

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A bleak ending, but a true story. Een guur einde, maar het is waar.

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If it helps, I am on a hot streak right now (otherwise known as Step. 5). But it is probably my third time through the cycle.

Good luck.

B.

Four Days in Montreal

Four Days in Montreal

I was recently in Montreal with a well developed itinerary for my friends and I to get the most out of the city in our short time there. So if you are planning a trip anytime soon, try this-

Thursday- Day 1

Our trip involved a 9 hour drive, so we left at 8am and arrived in the city around 4:30- perfect time to check into our Airbnb and take in its beauty. Although there are many different accommodations in the city, we chose travel on the cheap and found an Airbnb in Plateau, a perfect neighbourhood that is accessible for transit, and close enough to grocery stores and attractions.

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This evening we walked over to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant down the street from our apartment called Restaurant Les Belles Soeurs. It was small and cosy, with dim lighting, plants and art covering the walls.

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After that, we walked over to La Distillerie No.2, which is also in the neighbourhood. It is one of three branches of this bar chain in the city. It has an industrial feel with exposed brick and hanging pipes. But we were there for the drinks- the bar is known for its litre sized cocktails. So find a table, and enjoy a very large mojito. IMG_8520tripadvisor.ca

Friday- Day 2

This was my birthday, so today started with well wishes and gift giving. After this we found a retailer that sells transit cards, we purchased 3 day passes for 18$ that give you access to the metro and bus. Between construction and crazy city drivers I recommend looking into transit. We went for brunch at Restaurant L’avenue – a place on Avenue du Mont-Royal that is known for its brunch. They serve every meal with a plate of fruit. It was really busy so I recommend planning to wait a bit or going early. If you do visit L’avenue, make sure to stop in the bathroom- but don’t expect to touch up lipstick or hair- it probably won”t be very helpful.

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We stopped across the street at Cacao 70 for a warm drink before heading up Mount Royal. Of course, we chose the easy way and took the bus up to the look out point, but you can also hike up. We still got a bit of a hike when we got off at the wrong bus stop and were forced to walk the road back to the lookout.  But the views were great.IMG_8295 3.jpg

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From here we rode the bus down the side of the hill to Rue St.Catherine for some shopping. Here you’ll find most retail stores like Forever 21, H&M, Sephora, and Zara. After purusing through the stores of interest we caught the bus to La Banquise for poutine- something Canada is known for, but is specifically native to Quebec. It is another small, but busy restaurant- so go early. The poutine here is SO GOOD- it is hard to find a good poutine gravy, and La Banquise has it. I had the Bacon Poutine, but you can explore with lots of options.

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After dinner we walked home and had a rest before throwing a mini party at the apartment.

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This evening we visited a few of the city’s bars, so I’ll give you a little review for each.

  • Bily Kun, 354 Mont-Royal E, known for it’s live jazz happy hours and a great speak easy vibe. The walls are lined with ostrich heads and they serve various Czech beers.
  • Newspeak, 1403 Rue Sainte Élisabeth, a bit scary to approach, as you’ll find yourself in a dead alley way. However, inside you will find a new bar which is prided for being packed with live DJs and bands.
  • Stereo Bar, 856 Rue St Catherine E, literally in a basement. It is quite dark and mysterious, but inside you’ll find a really modern club with black lights and neon paint across the walls.
  • Unity Bar, 1171 St Catherine St E, by far my favourite stop of the evening. It is a great place to dance and hear music you’ll know. Especially if you are a person who prefers pop/throwbacks to EDM.

From the club we ubered home- an easy way to get home when you just don’t feel like finding the bus at 2am.

Saturday- Day 3

Today was a day I was thoroughly excited for. We started off our day with bagels from Fairmount Bagel (which by the way, if you want butter on your bagel- bring it or prepare to buy a full tub).

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We enjoyed our bagels in front of the building and then caught our bus to Old Montreal. Old Montreal is the best example of the European feel that Quebec has. It has old buildings, the Notre Dame Basilica and cobblestone streets. We started at Tommy, a magnificent cafe that has plants hanging from the ceilings and serves really aesthetically pleasing lattes. towertrip.com

We walked up and through the Notre-Dame Basilica– which is 6$ for entry (cash only) so come prepared! Inside is a beautiful church where Celine Dion was married. After paying my respects to my Quebecois Queen we ventured on.

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We walked through the streets, stopping along the way for candy, chocolate and any other treat we could find.

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IMG_8420 3.jpgright along the streets of old Montreal is the old port on the St.Lawerence River. From here you can walk along and view the ships, the Expo67 location and look back at the city skyline. It was getting really cold so we walked back through the city to find our next cafe, which is housed inside of the Old Royal Bank. Crew Collective Cafe is a really cool cafe with chandeliers and work rooms in old bank tellers booths. It was really busy inside (a common theme in the city) so seating was impossible.

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We walked back to the basilica to catch our bus, from there we went for dinner at the famous Schwartz Deli, a restaurant that serves smoked meat sandwiches. Nestled in between bars on the busy street of St.Laurent Boulevard, this busy restaurant is often paired with a line out the door- but it is worth the wait. In under 20 minutes you will be faced with a large sandwich with coleslaw, fries and a pickle (at your request [I recommend you get them all]).

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Sunday- Day 4

Today we were getting ready to go, so after spending the evening packing and cleaning our apartment. This morning we were up early to pack the car and find breakfast. At the end of our street called Croissant Croissant. It is a beautiful little cafe that serves various croissants (obviously) on pretty wooden boards with coffee. instagram.com

After this we hopped in the car and drove across the city to go to a spa. But three words- so. much. construction. We found parking after being rerouted around the city about 5 times. Once again, if you thought you could drive through the city- you are wrong. We decided to end our weekend with a bang by enjoying a morning at Bota Bota. Which, technically has no land to park on- as it is literally a boat. So we found daily parking for 18$ nearby. and walked along the port to the spa. We did the water circuit, which gives you access to thermal baths, cold baths ( go all in!), steam bathes and saunas. the website recommends that you do a cycle of sauna/steam room, cold bath, thermal bath or relaxation and do this a few times. I have literally never been so relaxed, the spa is silent so for three hours you are left to relax, look out the port holes at the city and just decompress. I was so relaxed after my three hours here that the  drive home (in the rain, with construction) seemed like nothing.

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I recommend trying a combination of one or all of these things in your time in Montreal for the ultimate exploration/gastronomical/relaxation weekend.

have fun!

-B.

22 Things I Learned at 22

22 Things I Learned at 22

That’s right! It’s that time of year again, where I reflect on my past year, with some sub-par advice and some pictures that don’t really belong here.

  1. A pouch isn’t just an accessory, its a way of life.
  2. Fewer close friends are better than a bunch of acquaintancesGPTempDownload
  3. Be wise, moisturize.
  4. Being an independent worker is hard, but it let’s you do what you want.Processed with VSCO with f1 preset
  5. Financing is tough, but a necessary skill to learn.
  6. My myers-briggs personality (ENTP-T) says more about me than my star sign ever will. IMG_6692
  7. House plants are an absolute necessity.
  8. Yoga is a godsent, pilates are not.
  9. Life moves fast. Appreciate where you are in the moment.IMG_8178
  10. Take risks and travel far.Processed with VSCO with m6 preset
  11. I can buy candy whenever I want because I’m adult and I don’t need a reason.
  12. Less is more, and regularly go through your things is important.
  13. Take care of yourself, whether it be a walk or a bubble bath- time for yourself is important. IMG_8257 2
  14. Pursue things that interest you. In a month, I will have a master’s degree in television (~living the dream~).Processed with VSCO with s3 preset
  15. Life requires prioritizing- make time for your friends and family.
  16. Scavenger hunts are for adults.IMG_5149
  17. Take more pictures.IMG_7759
  18. Never stop learning.
  19. Empowered women empower other women.Processed with VSCO with f1 preset
  20. Don’t let emotions rule what you do today.IMG_8258 2
  21. I am pretty much 100% incapable of completely things so this was a struggle.
  22. oh crap… I need one more…. “‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take’-Wayne Gretsky”-Micheal Scottmichealscott

 

And for more birthday posts: 21 Things I Learned at 21, 20 Things I Learned at 20, the Growth of One Super Sarcastic Bitch (me)