Sunday, 13 July 2014

Greetings from the Rockies

Hello friends!

It's been a whirlwind of a summer so far. I've been living in the Canadian Rockies for the past two months, serving in the dining room at a luxury lodge.

Right now, I'm sitting in a busy Starbucks in Banff. I never sit in Starbucks! But the lodge I'm working at is very isolated - cell phone reception is not a thing on Moraine Lake, and the wifi connection is sketchy at best. I rely on my trips into Banff to write these blog posts, catch up with my loved ones, and keep my cocktail column alive on She Does the City.

Did you catch my Canada Day cocktail inspired by a drink right off of Canoe Restaurants menu?

And who doesn't like watermelon jello shots? Especially when you can find a weird way to make them about Beyonce. 

Check out all the posts by clicking HERE

I hope you're enjoying your summer so far! 

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Cocktails, Home Decor and Travel

Hello friends! My latest cocktail for She Does the City is up (You can view the post by clicking HERE)  It's inspired by a carrot caesar that I had from Me and Mine and the juicer my friend Sofia so kindly lent me. I know I say this about every cocktail but this one is ACTUALLY my favourite. Tequila and freshly squeezed carrot juice are a match made in heaven. My brother Michael Morris took the photos. The novelty print wood the cocktail is resting on is pretty awesome eh? I found it on the street. My guess is it came from a shed someone was tearing down.

I'm posting this bedroom here because I don't want to forget where I saw it. It's an IKEA hack using on of the basic headboards and stickwood (link here). I've never used a headboard in my adult life but for my next place, I think this is the first project I'll take on. 

In other news, I've started the countdown for my trip to Moraine Lake Lodge to serve in the dining room. Today I'll be taking my third trip down to MEC to buy stuff for my trip. I'm also gearing up to move all of my stuff out of my apartment, shoot some cocktails and say goodbye to friends. It's going to be a crazy (but fun) few weeks! 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Cocktail Competitions

Ahhh, cocktail competitions. They are a beast! 

My first was the Made With Love event this March where I got to write a review for She Does the City (ARTICLE HERE). It was massive, and I'll admit, nothing like I imagined. I pictured that I'd be seated in a movie theatre with all the competitors lined up on the stage, fancy servers handing out their drinks. With pads of paper at our sides where we could rate the cocktail based on creativity, presentation, taste, texture. My visions of grandeur cocktail competitions were very wrong. They'd have to pay a small town of employees to make that happen. 

In reality, 17 great bartenders set up booths, and the audience went around to each one chatting with the bartender and tasting a 1 oz. sample of their concoction. It was actually way better than I imagined because we got to interact with them. My favourite person to talk to was Jeff Puddy from the Thomson Hotel. His cocktail was magical and savoury and I freaking LOOOOOVE savoury cocktails. The audience voted by handing out a "Made With Love" dog tag that we got upon entry to their favourite bartender. Person with the most tags at the end of the night wins! Jeff got mine. 

My pal from high school Ryan Stobnicky was working the event! Haven't seen that guy in years. Definitely one to watch on the cocktail scene, he's a bartender at the Drake and just the nicest! 

Michael Mooney's cocktail was so great, I can't stop thinking about it. You can read more about it on my review for She Does the City. 

So then I went to my second cocktail competition but a week later, but this time it was all ladies competing, all using spirits from Dillon's Distillery (I also wrote a review for She Does the City and you can READ IT HERE

Ana Wolkowski won the event for her cocktail pictured below. I thought it was pretty genius that she paired the local Dillon's rye with Bellwoods Brewery's Cat Lady IPA. 

These were definitely some highlights of my month :) Hope you guys like the articles. All of the photos were taken by Michael Morris (Click here for the link to his website

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Spring Buds

My latest post for She Does the City is UP! (Check it out by CLICKING HERE

Spring is an awkward time for cocktails - I find myself wanting to make really fresh citrusy cocktails but a lot of the bright juicy fruits aren't in season yet. On Monday I went to the Drake and ordered the Vodka Lavender Lemonade cocktail and decided right then and there that this lavender based cocktail will forever be my official drink for the first week of spring.  

Thanks again to Michael Morris for shooting these beautiful photos :) I am practicing my digital photography and taking the A Beautiful Mess photography course and I am still so damn bad. I tried taking pictures of the same scene and they are awful. I really owe so much to Mike for his amazing eye, skill and institution. 

Saturday, 29 March 2014

March Highlights

Holy heck, where did March go? It has been an amazing month that started with a bang when I got the news that I've been hired to work at an amazing lodge in Banff this summer. Such a dream come true and something I've had my fingers crossed over for months. I'll be serving in the fine dining restaurant looking out on these big beautiful mountains, and turquoise waters.

March has been good to me. I found myself with more free time to work on learning photography, write articles, exercise, hang out with friends, go for walks and do all those things that enrich life. Free time means shucking oyters for the first time in a year and taking a trip to the wonderful Dillon's Distillery, something I've been wanting to do since the summer!

The thrift gods blessed me with this amazing mid-century unit that I found on the street on my walk home from work.

Mike and I also got to go to the MadeWithLove cocktail competition in Toronto to do a review for She Does the City (check out the article LINK HERE.) Turns out we really like working these events! He got so many great pictures. We've been having conversations lately about going into business together with a focus on his photography and my writing and styling. I think we make a pretty great brother sister team :) 

Happy spring guys! 

Friday, 14 March 2014

The Late Bloomer

Hello again! Heres the latest cocktail for She Does the City (LINK HERE). This is my favourite one yet! My parents dropped off like 50 grapefruits to my house a few weeks ago, so I guess that was the "jumping off" ingredient for this delicious cocktail. 

Things with me are very good right now! The shoot is shot on my new Canon D60 that I bought off of craiglist. Man, I love craiglist. I probably saved about $600 getting the body and lens used. Yay, deals! This week I start an online photgraphy course by the ladies at A Beautiful Mess. I'm really excited to learn this camera inside and out. Until then, I am lucky to have my insanely talented brother Michael Morris do the photography (LINK to his blog HERE)

SECRET of this post

I wanted to start telling you guys a little secret about each post on my blog here. Because so much of what you see here is fabricated and "styled" and I'm learning a lot of tricks along the way. What is this weeks secret? Check out the bottle of St Germain, above. Think its the delicious elderflower liquor? No, think again. It's the bottle (which I finished), filled with vegetable oil! You would NEVER know, amiright? A vodka company Luksusowa sent me a bottle of liquor to use in my next shoot! I am so grateful. My bar is seriously running low! If you're interested in sponsoring a post, I'm alllllll ears. 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

When It's Dark and Stormy Make a Dark and Stormy

My brother is the photographer of this cocktail series (Mike Morris - and he was getting really sick of shooting with a white background. Personally, I love it but I'm glad he challenged me to switch it up. I painted a piece of wood black and held it up the whole time, in our makeshift studio (living room). It was tricky because it's pretty important for me to be able to move things around and switch up whatever isn't working. I will be experimenting with new backgrounds in the coming weeks! 

The day after the shoot we lost heat in our apartment and just got it back last night (6 whole days folks!) It was a dreary and wildly inconvenient time. At least there is light at the end of the tunnel - literally, am daylights saving this sunday! Along with the longer brighter days, I'm going to be brightening up the cocktails. Think tiki drinks with lots of citrus and fruity goodness! And sorry Mike, but we're going back to the white background for next week! 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Crack open a cold one

Here we have a very handsome and very expensive bottle opener. $60, but so pretty. I just can't justify it, considering that all of my bottle openers were free...either from novelty packs of beer or my parents house. This would look so cute in photo shoots and hanging on a nail on the wall, and it's brass plated. 

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Your Favorite Ginger: Making a Cocktail for my Coworkers

I've been blabbing on about cocktails to my coworkers at Idea Couture for months now, so when we had a potluck at the office, I knew that I'd bring my cocktail A game. I can't begin to tell you how nice it was to hear them say, "This is really good!". I recently wrote an article about cocktails for Idea Couture's magazine MISC so I'll let you know when that comes out. For the potluck, I chose a cocktail that I could make in large batches and doesn't require a delicate balance of ingredients like a Manhattan.

Large Batch "Your Favorite Ginger" Cocktail
4 oz whiskey
4 oz of ginger simple syrup
top the shaker with cider
add a generous amount of fee brothers black walnut bitters (5 shakes)
garnish with candied ginger

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until its totally cold. Pour into small tasting cups and garnish with candied ginger.

5 things that are going on...

1) My nose is still swollen from a few months ago when I was vacuuming and the spout got caught under something and went flying into my face. My mom said it's because I was "cleaning angry". haha!

2) I'm seriously so excited for spring, but who isn't, right?? 

3) I'm going to start playing volleyball! I used to play in high school and now I just want to spike and serve and be stronger. 

4) I'm going to purchase a nice DSLR camera off of craigslist so I can really learn the camera inside and out and take great photos. Especially now that I want to get into doing restaurant and bar reviews. My iphone just isn't gonna cut it! 

5) This is definitely a time for change. I'm waiting to hear back for a serving job in Banff...I really want it, but I also know that so many people are being interviewed. Hopefully I'm what they are looking for! Either way, I'm moving out of my apartment in April or May...the question is, will I get another place here or pick up and go somewhere else? My heart is telling me it's time to explore. 

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Valentines Day and Getting Through the Winter

Hey guys! I'm super happy about how this Valentines cocktail for She Does the City worked out! (Post HERE). Michael photographed the pictures and as usual, many of the items are available at BYOB Cocktail Emporium. 

Valentines Day was really nice. I had a galentines dinner with Jess and Claire at Rock Lobster on Ossington. The food and cocktails BLEW me away...lobster mac and cheese literally made me speechless. I could eat it every day.

I am so happy we're at the halfway point in February. I've been feeling really stuck the past two months but have also been working really hard every day to push through, trying to set up new opportunities and  get myself in a position to accomplish some major far, things are still kind of stagnant but I have a feeling that in the next few weeks life is going to accelerate big time and get really exciting. Just in time for Spring. 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sharpie on the Walls

Wallpaper is grossly expensive but I love it. That's why I get so excited whenever I see a DIY alternative. I think this gold sharpie wall that I saw on Design Sponge (link here)  is so cute and modern, not to mention affordable. Could be risky though. Would you try it?

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Printing Photos and Feeling Grateful

Heavy flakes of snow are falling out my window right now and it's actually pretty beautiful. Today I'm going to go for a long walk with The Staves on my Ipod.  This winter has been pretty brutal weather wise but today I'm not complaining. 

In the first week of January I was on a mission to print out my photos. I spent three days compiling hundreds of pictures on a USB stick, somehow knowing I couldn't look forward until I had a chance to look back. And I'm so glad, because I got a lot out of it and its something I hope to keep forever.

The pictures made me feel really grateful. When I look at them I feel so lucky for my nice apartments over the years, all the trouble I got up to in Montreal, and the snapshots of my family and friends. I look happy. It's been an overwhelmingly happy life. It reminds me to be grateful now because even when things feel shitty, I'll look back at my photos in a few years and see how lucky I am.

Over the album, I can see my star players, the people who show up again and again. The people who are in color. The pictures reminded me to reach out and be grateful and loving towards them. It's okay that we're busier than we used to be as long as they know and I know, that we're still around.

My parents have moved away, I'm not in Montreal anymore, I work more than I play, I've developed new interests and passions, friendships and skills. Sure, I could have seen this evolution on the computer screen. But somehow, it just feel so much better to hold it in my hands, right in front of me.

I have 50 empty slots for new photos, waiting to be filled. I'm excited! What does the future hold? xx

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Walter Caesar Mix

My third post for She Does the City is up! This time it's all about Walter Caesar Mix. I kept the recipe really simple on this one, because I think the mix is so good it does all the work for you. Get a glass, add ice, pour in some vodka and top with Walter. Easy as pie. CLICK HERE to read the post :) 

Did I mention how much fun I'm having with this? I want to find ways to do more. I'm really inspired by the cocktail videos and photos designlovefest makes. Maybe one day...