Sunday, 20 October 2013

Things I Love (cooler weather edition)

Our awesome extended summer has finally ended. :(  It was frosty when I got in my car this morning! As sad as I am that winter is coming, here are some things that are keeping me happy:

1. My new desk:

When I took a break from blogging a few months ago, it was mostly because of work (and was really only supposed to last a month or two). After a few months, it really became about not having a good workspace. When the girl I was subletting from moved back in, she also reclaimed her furniture, including her desk. Hypothetically, all I should need in order to blog is a computer, which I have at home and work. But it was a challenge working on creative projects at work, especially on night shifts, and when I work from my bed (which I used to not mind at all) I had a bad habit of falling asleep.

Finally, finally, my roommate sold the futon that was taking up so much space in my room, and I found a desk! It took way too much internet browsing and internal debates, but I finally purchased the small portion of this desk from JYSK. It's big enough that I can spread out, but small enough that I can put it in multiple spots in my room. The only (slightly) annoying thing is that the base is larger than the glass, so it doesn't fit right up against the wall. It's just a small annoyance though, and I am way too happy to have a functional workspace again to care!

2. Gone Girl

Yes, everyone's read it already. Yes, I avoided it for exactly that reason. I was wrong. I couldn't put it down. And when I did, it was with a resounding "WTF." (It was the best kind of "WTF", though)

3. Under Armour Leggings

I may have written about these before, but hello best thing that ever happened to me. With the weather getting cooler (even with the warm fall we've had so far), these babies have been my go to, whether I'm wearing a dress or just a long sweater. So comfy and warm, and I don't have to worry about getting a run in them (I'm looking at you, stupid Walmart tights!)

4. Maps

I've seen a lot of maps-based crafts on Pinterest lately, and badly wanted to make some. I was considering doing some contraband printing at work to obtain some maps (note: I never ever ever sometimes do this), and then I found a North American road atlas at the dollar store for $3. Problem solved. Hipster-decor, here I come! 

5. Tim Horton's Coffee

How original, a Canadian loving Timmies coffee, right? Okay, but I've honestly never been a fan, usually preferring Starbuck's or nothing at all (I still think most of the food is gross and pointless). But I've been trying to save money for a trip to Japan, and so I'm having a really hard time justifying $6 a day lattes (sometimes $12 if it's #oneofthosedays). 
I have discovered, however, that Tim Horton's has flavour shots, which makes a medium double-double with a shot of vanilla taste almost as good as a vanilla latte (almost. Let's not get crazy). And at about $2, plus the fact that I can hit it up before my commute at 5:30, it's been worth the temporary switch. 

6. Investopedia

I have started venturing, very, very slightly, into the world of investing. When I sat down with my financial advisor, I understood maybe two of every three words he said. And then I started reading Michael Lewis's The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine and realized that I lack even a very basic understanding of investments, the stock market, and maybe the whole economy?

Fortunately, this site explains everything in a really simple, non-condescending way. I started with Investing 101 and then branched out onto the topics I found interesting. I'm not going to be brokering my own trades anytime soon, but I feel more secure knowing what's actually happening with my money. 

The weather is getting colder, and it's harder to remain in a perpetually good mood. What are you loving lately? I'd love suggestions for books or things that keep you warm!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Autumn Playlist

I don't know what it is about autumn, but it makes me crave music that is cozy and sunny and kind of warm. I don't know how I classify music as "cozy", but I know it when I hear it! 

Gatineau Park, QC - I'll be heading here next weekend! 
I associate music so strongly with seasons, that there are some songs that just feel wrong to listen to at any other time of the year.  Feist's "The Reminder"album falls into this category, bringing back memories of my 19th birthday and trips to Gatineau Park. Sam Cooke will always remind me of my 4th year of university, especially the reverse culture shock I had coming back from England. 

This fall, I seem to be craving a sort of folk-bluegrass-country combination of songs. I suspect two factors are responsible:

1. O Brother, Where Art Thou? was on AMC the other night, and if there is any other movie that would turn a non-bluegrass fan into one, I don't know of it. 

2. My life changing trip to Yosemite National Park a few weeks ago (if you follow my instagram, or know me in real life, you're probably sick to death of hearing about Yosemite, but I can't help it. It was incredible). The trip left me yearning for more connections to nature and history, hence, I think, the attraction to folk music.

ANYWAY. After much trial and error, I finally figured out how to publish a mix on 8tracks (no Spotify in Canada, sadly), with some songs that remind me of autumn and other songs I've been listening to lately.

Autumn Sun Playlist

Mason Jar - The Bitterroot Band
Sweet Spot - Tiff Merritt
People Turn Around - Delta Spirit
Thunderheads - Dixie Chicks
Someday Never Comes -  Billy Valentine & the Forest Rangers
You & Me - Sara Watkins
I'll Fly Away - Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch
Goodbye California - Jana Kramer
Anyhow - Tyler Lyle
Down to the River to Pray - Alison Krauss and Union Station
Do Re Mi - Woody Guthrie
Heart of Gold - Neil Young
Oh My God - W.B. Givens
Home to You - The Peasall Sisters
Down in the Valley - The Head and the Heart
No Diggity vs. Thrift Shop - Ed Sheeran ft. Passenger

What have you been listening to lately? What songs remind you of autumn? 

P.S. I find/found a lot of great music (and a few of these songs) through the blogs Back Down South and FolkHive. Lots of free downloads with options to buy or pay-what-you-like.