MUMFORD & SONS : A Photo Story

All photos were shot by my dear friend, Samantha Gatez. If you are interested in seeing more of her work go like her Facebook page!

Perfection

Joy

Beautiful

Amazing

Reckless

Love

Magical

Freedom

Mumford & Sons

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To read more about my love for Mumford and my concert going experiences check out these posts:

A Musical Review & A Love Story

I Love Live Music!

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It’s my birthday, I will brag if I want to!

That is how the song goes right!? Kidding, I know the lyrics are cry if I want to. But I do not want to cry. I want to sing with joy because my friends and family are so spectacular! They made my birthday (which was on Tuesday) so special and they made me feel so loved and important. So I am going to brag and share and shout it to the hill tops!

Fun fact: My dad and I actually share the same birthday. Yup, you got that right. I was the best birthday gift he ever got. So on Monday night Lucas and I went to my house for dinner. This was when we got to do our annual Easter egg hunt. Then we had a lovely dinner, I got to choose the meal this year and I picked tacos. And after dinner we did presents and cake!

IMG_6189I got my dad (and my brother) tickets to a spring Blue Jays Game. And my parents got me a shopping spree, by that I mean that my mum is taking me shopping. Both my personal style and body are changing, so she figured it was best if I picked out my own things.

On Tuesday, I had to wake up and go to work like normal which was kind of a bummer.IMG_6190 But my co-worker, Bree, made it more exciting by bringing me a box of donuts from Tim Horton’s! Let me take a second to tell you about donuts. As a general rule I only eat donuts if I am celebrating something. It makes them special. So when I got the lead in the school show, donut. When I got accepted to my post graduate program, donut. When I got a job after graduation, donut! So Bree decided that a birthday was worth celebrating and got me some donuts!

At our office we do this thing where who ever had their birthday before you has to celebrate your birthday. So around 3pm I was surprised with a lovely home baked cake! Cherry Chip! It was actually so effing delicious. I can’t even. Also, it was a cake… Shaped like a cup cake! It literally does not get cuter than that!

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IMG_6193 Birthday girl has to cut the cake!

On Tuesdays I have choir rehearsal, so instead of going home I had time to kill. Normally I go to the gym on Tuesdays before choir but my desire to exercise on my bday was nill. So I went out for dinner with one of my best friends, Karin, instead.

Really funny story about dinner. We went to a chair restaurant called Swiss Chalet. Nothing special but its a classic. So Karin says for my birthday she will buy me a drink. She asks the waitress what cocktails are available. The waitress, who speaks very little english, says there are none… Okay, so Karin asks for two Shirley Temples with a shot of rum on the side for each of us. The woman comes back with the drinks, the shots and cups of ice. I guess she thought we might have the rum on the rocks. Instead we poured the liquor into those Shirley Temples. She stares at us, looking very confused, and says “where did it go?!” Ummmm its in the drink… “But I don’t see it!?” It was adorable and hilarious all at the same time. We tried to explain that we mixed it in but I’m not sure she understood.

At dinner Karin gave me an adorable gift. It was owl themed. A stunning owl card, lip balm in owl packaging, an owl eraser and an owl bookmark! The bookmark was the best part because I love reading and it looks super good in my book.

During Choir the whole choir sang happy birthday to me. It was beautiful! Then after choir Lucas and his friend Taylor picked us up and we went for a drink at a bar around the corner. Taylor dropped us off at home around 10:30pm. I was surprised to find both Lucas’s parents awake, the front hall decorated, gifts and cheese cake!!

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One of my other best friends, Katie, had dropped off a gift for me. It was an owl shaped mug! I really like owls. And the mug was filled with candy! Which is all gone now…

Lucas’s parents got me a brand new blender! They wanted to get me something for when I move out on my own in the fall (more on that another day). I have all of the basic appliances from my student days and now I have a fancy blender to make soups and smoothies!

Last but certainly not least, Lucas had what he called a verbal gift for me. Meaning that he told me what we were going to do for my birthday but didn’t have a physical gift. Here is what he said: When my work schedule calms down in May we are going to go on a little staycation. We are going to use AirBnB to rent a nice condo in Toronto and spend the weekend living the city life. We are going to walk to the CN tower, maybe visit the ROM, visit the market. Lucas is going to cook me a fancy Chef Cugini meal one night and we can enjoy some expensive champagne! He then proceeded to pull the said bottle of champagne out from under his pillow. I am so excited for this romantic stay-at-home-getaway weekend! I want April to fly by! We spent some time on AirBnB last night and we booked this fantastic condo. It is sleek and modern and still homey.

In addition to all of that so many friends were texting, calling and messaging me with well wishes and love. It was a really great day. I felt so happy and so loved! The best part?! The Birthday celebrations aren’t done yet! At the end of the month I am having a triple birthday party with Karin and Katie because they celebrate birthdays in April too!

What is your favourite part about birthdays?! Share in the comments!

DIY: Wine Bottle Picture Frame

Wow. Hello! It’s been a while! That is because I have been very busy in the real world. Choir practice, choreographing, dinners out, Easter, birthday parties and a little DIY.

You see almost everyone I know is born in the spring. March and April have a lot going on in terms of birthdays. I simply cannot afford to buy a gift for each and every one of my friends. So I decided it was time to get creative. Thanks to the search term “best friend DIY gifts” Pinterest was able to provide some fantastic inspiration.

A Wine Bottle Picture Frame

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Unfortunately the Pin did not link to a blog so all I have is this photo.

This person (whoever they are… The pin didn’t link to a blog. Just the photo) used rhinestones to decorate their bottle. I loved the idea but hated the blingy-ness. I’m all for a little sparkle but too much becomes tacky really fast. So I decided to go a different route and use buttons.

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This was a relatively inexpensive project. All I needed was a wine bottle, a picture, buttons, Mod Podge and Gem Tac Glue. I found everything that I needed at the craft store Michael’s.

IMG_6112Step One: Stick the Photo to the bottle. I started by curving the edges of the photo so that it would sit nicely on the bottle. Then I used two coats of Mod Podge to make it stick!

IMG_6114Step Two: Use the Gem Tac to glue on your buttons or rhinestones or whatever you choose. I noticed that I had to go small sections at a time because the glue needed to dry flat or else the buttons would slip around.

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Note: I decided to leave space between my buttons intentionally but you could always squish them a little closer together if you wanted to.

Step Three: Once all the buttons are glued down let the bottle sit for at least 24 hours. Then enjoy a beautiful & unique picture frame!

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What would you use to decorate your wine bottle picture frame??! Share in the comments!

Flash Back Friday – 2 Year Time Hop

Tomorrow is one of my best friend’s birthdays and in just under a week and a half it will be my birthday! When Taylor and I lived together we would celebrate together every year. Now we live very far away from each other in different cities but that doesn’t mean we can’t sort of celebrate. So today I am flashing back to two years ago when we made our very own “Feelin’ 22” music video in honor of our 22nd birthdays and our never ending love for Tswift.

The Kind of Rain.

When I was eleven, Samantha and I rode our bikes to the corner store almost everyday.  The place was run down and smelled strongly of dust but it was our favourite place in the summer time.  The corner store had a slushie machine and an entire aisle of 10 cent candy.  As long as we could fit it into our pockets, we were free to buy as much candy as we wanted.  Each with our own crisp 5 dollar bill.

We rode back and fourth to that corner store all summer long.  I wish I could say each ride was memorable and meaningful but most of them are blurred together now.  Sun on my back and wind in my hair is as vivid as it gets.

Except for that one day when it rained.  The clouds had been growing darker throughout the morning but it was hot, stiflingly hot.  It seemed that the only way to quell the heat was to drink an ice cold slushie.  So against my mothers warning we set off, me and sam, on our bikes.

Samantha got a red slushie and I got a blue one.  As we guzzled them back, the ground shook with the sound of thunder.  Loud.  Frightening.  Exciting.  I’m positive that I have never peddled faster or harder in my entire life, bent low over the handle bars we raced against mother nature. Just not fast enough.

The skies opened up as we turned onto my street. Laughing and squealing we made for the garage but we were drenched and no amount of shelter was going to change that. It was the kind of rain that feels warm when it touches your skin. The kind of rain that starts heavy but quickly becomes gentle. The kind of rain where the sun turns the droplets orange. The kind of rain where you can see rainbows if you look hard enough. The kind of rain that entices you to dance and splash and run and play.

And so we did.

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This is a fictional piece of creative writing based on a real event from my childhood. While I do not consider myself a “writer”, I do enjoy experimenting from time to time. Thanks for reading!

Alex

Tourists Guide to The World: Niagara Falls, ON – The Winter Edition

I know I’m a few days behind the times but today, I want to talk about Valentines day! I’ll give it to you straight: As a general rule I feel that valentines day is a materialistic holiday that puts all people (single, committed, in-between, ect.) in an awkward position.

Usually I actively avoid this fake holiday by holing up in my room with a good movie but not this year. For Valentines day 2015 I decided to embrace the love… of my best girl friends. I love Lucas more than anything and the way things are currently going I see a long and happy relationship for us but the reality is if things ever go south, I will always have my girl friends. So this year we decided to celebrate Gal-entines day (get it, girl + valentines…) together by going on a road trip to Niagara Falls!!

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Niagara Falls was the perfect destination for a girls weekend for a few reasons:

  • The Falls are only a 1.5 hour drive from Toronto
  • Between 4 people a hotel room is super affordable
  • Both nightlife activities and day-time activities are available
  • It is a Canadian location that is considered to be the “8th world wonder”

After writing Lucas an adorable card I jumped in the car with my friends & we were off! We checked into our hotel around 5:00 pm and unpacked our bags before going to dinner. We decided to drive to dinner which wasn’t the best call. The roads were incredibly snowy this weekend. I think the mist freezing as it came off the falls must have been a factor. It took us about half an hour but we eventually found a parking spot near an Italian-American Eatery called Vinny’s. The place as mostly filled with couples holding hands but that was fine with us. I got a pretty decent cream sauce pasta because you can never go wrong with cream sauce pasta.

10991453_10152818071363558_7508410349410884676_nAfter dinner we returned to the hotel to get dressed up for our night on the town. Unsurprisingly we all ended up in mostly black outfits. I think its a winter thing. It almost feels wrong to wear bright colours when there is snow on the ground. Then our first stop for the evening was Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville! You guessed it! This place makes super fancy Margaritas! We all ended up getting a blue one with a really long name that I can’t remember. Think blue slushy made with tequila and you are on the right track in terms of taste.

The next stop on the girls night adventure train was the casino! We went to Fallsview because it was the closest one within walking distance. That was important because it was way, way, way below freezing and it was super snowy. Personally, I was really excited about going to the casino. It’s not that I am super into gambling or anything, I’ve just never had the experience before. I suppose I think of visiting a Casino as a grown up right of passage.

1450891_10152818071658558_1682212219668897139_nSome Most people probably find this type of atmosphere overwhelming but I really enjoyed all the lights and colours. It added to the spectacle of the whole night. We decided it was probably best if we stuck to the slot machines since none of us know how to play card games and we didn’t want to waste anyone’s time. 10488109_10152818073568558_5290224871700860488_n 10991304_10152818073168558_9062101763379784123_n

Here is Karin and I playing on the slot machines! Apparently you aren’t allowed to take pictures in the casino but we didn’t get caught… hehehe. I played 15 dollars and sadly didn’t win anything. Stacey played 5 dollars and won $4.50. Mel played 5 dollars and made $6. And Karin was the big winner of the night, she played 10 dollars and won $25! As fun as it was I don’t think any of us will be returning to the casino anytime soon. There were some people there with cards loaded with money and they just sat there, plugged into the machine, pressing the button over and over and over again. To be honest it was quite sad and depressing if you really thought about it. But for one night out with the girls it was a lot of fun! 10013322_10152818073963558_5813145035181367157_n

After that we attempted to go to a nightclub for some dancing but it was last call by the time we got there. Time really does fly inside the casino. So we ended up back at the hotel around 3 am and then we ordered some cheese pizza. All in all it was a great way to end the night.

The next morning we had an all american meal at IHOP. Let me tell you something about IHOP. This is not something we have in Canada… I mean we do, beside the Falls but it is a very Americanized piece of Canada. Nowhere else will you find an IHOP. I was really excited for some Pancakes from the international house of pancakes but sadly I was sorely disappointed. Everything tasted extremely processed and unnatural. Next time I’m in Niagara I think I’ll stick with some all Canadian Tim Horton’s for breakfast instead.

After breakfast we went to the Falls! Despite the extremely cold temperatures I had a great time! The last time I visited the Falls I was only 5 and I have virtually no recollection of this trip. So it essentially felt like the first time for me. I think seeing the Falls in their frozen state was an interesting treat. The water was still flowing but there was a thick layer of ice covering the boulders at the bottom. Add the white mist and it looked like a magic potion that had bubbled up. The American side of the Falls had a lot more frozen chunks, whereas the the Canadian side seemed to be flowing more freely. You can’t really see anything that well in the pictures, but trust me. It was cool. 
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I definitely plan on returning in the summer months to see the Falls flowing in all their glory. Finally, our last stop was Clifton Hill!! This is where all of the entertainment attractions are. You know, restaurants, mini-putt, laser tag, wax museums, chocolate shops, ect. We didn’t have the money to do it all so we decided to do the thing that we can’t do at home. A wax museum! We went to MovieLand. So named because it was filled with wax recreations of movie stars. Not all the statues looked like their celebrity counterpart, but most of them still looked eerily real. Check out some of my Favourites below!

Well that just about sums up my valentines day weekend! How did you celebrate the day of love? With a S.O. or with friends? Share in the comments!