Thursday, March 31, 2011

Japanese Gardens = BLISS

I've been champing at the bit for spring to finally be here...I mean, REALLY be here.  It's beginning to melt here in Edmonton, but it's still super soggy out.  The past few days the sun hardly peeked out from the clouds.  Luckily today is a bit nicer out, the sun bestowed its presence on us finally, but of course I'm at work stuck in my edit suite.

There are 2 things I cannot wait to do this spring/summer....#1 is finally ride around on my bike.  The 2nd is head out to the Devonian Gardens outside of the city.  They have a beautiful Japanese Garden there that I haven't been to for ages.  Since I've been cooped up all winter, all I want to do now is go frolick in the flowers (then run screaming when a bee buzzes too close to me.  Yeah, I'm that girl.)

We've just signed another year lease on our apartment, so we're stuck there until July 2012.  I'm cool with that.  However, I can't help but dream of a house (preferably an older/"historic" house) and also dream of having a backyard with --gasp-- a garden!  What a concept!  I miss being able to pull out fresh carrots and munch on green peas from the vine.

So, until I get my dream garden, I thought I'd share some wonderful photos of some Japanese gardens I found.  Who wouldn't want one of these as their back yard?? 

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These gardens look so peaceful.  There's also a Flickr group dedicated to only photos of Japanese gardens...take a peek!

One day, when I get my dream house, my goal is to try to create a little Japanese garden.  We all need a little sanctuary in our lives.

Happy Thursday loves!

~E

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

EASTER CANDY SWAP ! Who's in??



EVERYONE!!!

I've been wanting to organize this for a while, (I've been actually discussing this with Kelsey of Artichoke Designs a while back) and seeing as it's going to be Easter shortly (April 24 is what the interweebs told me), I thought it'd be really fun to organize an Easter Candy Swap!

I love snail mail and sending out little parcels, and I'm guessing many of you do too. So, my idea was to organize a little candy swap with you lovely folks!

Are you in?  Sweet!  Here are some rules:

1) Comment below with your e-mail address.  I will be sending out a little form for you to fill out.

2) Deadline to sign up will be APRIL 6.

3) International & overseas friends welcome :)

4) Spread the word!  Grab a button!


My Beautiful Disaster

I'm hoping many of you will sign up...I think it'll be pretty fun!  I'll let you know who you're swapping with by April 8th at the latest.

Later gators!

~E

(PS...I understand all the irony in this, seeing as yesterday I found out I may be diabetic.  But I still wanted to do this little swap :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Etsy Wants #2...Vintage Shoes

Even though I had a less than stellar experience buying a pair of vintage shoes off Etsy doesn't mean I still don't browse.  Here's a few from my favourite's list.

{1, 2, 3, 4, 5}

Ciao for now!

~E

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chard!



Hey everyone!  It's Sunday and time to take a peek at life in another country!  This week my buddy Liam wanted to give us a tour of...


One of my goals in life is to take a road trip around Britain.  Chard sounds like a pretty interesting little pit stop.  Plus, meeting Liam would be entertaining in itself.  He has a pretty good sense of humor, if I do say so myself (definitely one of the reasons we get along so well.)  So, take it away Liam!


1.  Tell us about yourself!

Note from Erin: I totally hassled him about this look!
My name is Liam Thomas Mason and I am 23 years old. I currently live with my mother Kate and my two younger siblings David and Lily. I have a girlfriend called Amanda and we have been dating for 2 years. At home I have 3 cats (Forrest, Dogfood & Farquad), 2 dogs (Frank & Minnie) and 2 Guinea Pigs (Bubble & Squeak). I am a laboratory analyst for a metal works factory called Daido and I have worked there for 6 months, I enjoy my work immensely and am looking to further my training there. Before Daido I worked for the British Heart Foundation on a voluntary basis and I also worked in a model railway shop (childhood dream right there) called Buffers. I was on TV Christmas 2009 with James May’s Toy Stories attempting to run a model train 10 miles from Barnstaple to Bideford. 


In my spare time I like to play Bass Guitar, I was part of a band called Zembard Phoenix but the other members have gone on to pastures new and I am the only member left (woohoo solo project!). I also spend time doing quizzes in my team and I also like to play sports with my friends, I also have a blog called Triskaidekaphobia Movies which I have recently started after some gentle persuasion from my friend Rachael.


2.  Can you tell us a little about Chard? 

Chard is a small town; there are plenty of places accessible by cars that are within an hour’s drive from here. We have the town of Glastonbury which has some brilliant markets and some really stunning walking areas. There is Cheddar Gorge which are some of the best caves this side of the pond, also my personal favourite is the coastal town of Lyme Regis which is part of the south west coastal path. It has a cool little beach and an old fort which helped battle against invaders, they also filmed “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” there and they serve the best ¾ pound egg and bacon burger there, FACT!  Chard itself is quite quaint, we have a few local pubs, and these pubs get involved in a pool league most Sundays which is played by quite a few people in the town. 

If you wanted to visit the town we do have a museum which is only open from May to October where you can discover (as proved by QI) that Chard was the birthplace of powered flight. There are a couple of cider mills about 10 miles away in nearby Ilminster, and for those who enjoy walking, we do have an old railway line that was converted into a walking/cycle path that leads to our neighbouring town. For the railway modeler in us all there is my old workplace Buffers Model Railways which is one of the best stocked model shops in the country. Also if you have some urge to feed some ducks (and why wouldn’t you?) we do have a reservoir at the bottom of town, it’s also good for a brisk walk. After all that walking you’ll probably be hungry! We have a couple of Chinese restaurants which are absolutely tip top but if you are willing to travel a little further, Lyme Regis has some fantastic places to eat.

3.  What is life in Chard like?

Life in Chard is often quiet (apart from the odd illness outbreak and crossbow killing); it has about 15,000 people and is located at the very bottom of Somerset. We only have 1 major secondary school and 4 primary schools. I have lived here all my life and have loads of my family in the area. We have a local newspaper which reports on all the little towns in the area and has about 15,000 readers which isn’t too shabby! 


Growing up was at times pretty boring, once you go around Chard more than once it is pretty difficult to get enthusiastic about riding a bike over a mud mound, but thankfully I have some pretty imaginative friends. We like to do quizzes (either in the pub or around someone’s house) or we will go to beaches on a mass excursion. 

Contrary to popular belief we do not all sound like The Wurzels nor do we all drink cider…..but when The Wurzels do come to town there is a massive party where the cider does flow (not helping stereotypes here!). We have produced a couple of famous people from this town, we had swimmer Matthew Clay who won gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2006 and Ben Hamer who played against Liverpool FC in 2010, also there was John Stringfellow who made the first powered flight back in 1848 and the first ever female MP in the United Kingdom (Margaret Bondfield) was born here. 




Every year the town comes together to watch the carnival which travels around Somerset, all the town comes out to watch it then everyone has parties, it can get a bit crazy in certain areas but generally it is quite fun!





4.  Any special holidays or traditions you celebrate, Liam?

We celebrate the usual here in Chard; we have Easter, Halloween, Christmas, Whitsun, New Years Day and the May bank holidays. This year we will have the Royal Wedding which will give us an extra bank holiday where we will all get a day off. We also celebrate the day after Christmas which is known as Boxing Day, I have spoken to a couple of people online and they had no idea what I was on about! Back when I was in university we did celebrate Thanksgiving with a few American friends, we also went out on Australia Day. In the last couple of years my friend Paul has had a Half-Christmas party, exactly half way between Christmas he has a small party where we get the decarations out and celebrate halfway to Christmas. Probably the weirdest one we have celebrated for a while!

5.  So what got you interested in communicating with others around the world? 

Me with my penpal Anna (on mic)
I got into penpalling because my friend Paul showed me a site called Interpals back in 2008, I decided to make a profile and the rest as they say is history!  Once you get past the jerks trying to get money off of you there are some wicked people (including a certain Miss Erin!) {Note from Erin:  I've actually created a Tumblr site dedicated to all the weirdo messages I've received on Interpals.  Click here to check it out!} The first person I ever spoke to I am still friends with (a Swedish girl named Camilla). I have met two of my penpals over the years; I met my Finnish friend Anna when she came on a holiday to England, and I met Amanda 2 years ago and we have been dating since! 

I have found letter writing a completely surreal experience, in a day and age where electronics have taken over and instant messaging is the norm, I find it quite exciting and refreshing to receive a handwritten letter from someone. The little touches often make me smile, knowing they have gone that extra length to make their letter to you that little bit more personal. Not every person I have written to has been great; a certain Swedish stalker almost put me off letter writing for life, and certain people just stopped writing, but I am glad I persevered, I currently have some terrific penpals, they brighten up my day when I get their letter and I love sharing stories with people who are not even in the same country, or even the same continent. 

I hope one day that I can meet these truly awesome people, I do consider them as good a friend as the ones I spend time with at home, I also feel a little wiser each time someone shows me stuff from their town. That’s got to be a good thing right? 

{Note from Erin:  I couldn't agree more!}

6.  Give us a peek into your life!
The guinea pigs, Bubble and Squeak!
Chard Art!
Chard and Ily News
Chard Toll House
Guild Hall
Liam and Amanda
Phoenix Pub Pool Pub
My bass
My favourite bench in winter.
Dog Food.
Forrest & Farquad
Minnie
Frank

THANK YOU LIAM!  So many photos...I loved it.  

I hope you're all having a lovely Sunday!  

Ciao for now,

~E

Saturday, March 26, 2011

More Polaroid, you say?

I wanted to share some more fun Polaroids.  This is still with my 5-year old expired film I got off eBay.  I bought 4 cartridges...and I have one left.  Damn, Polaroid is fun.


This is Ben with my grandpa.  I love this shot.  It does look like it's from the '70s or something...

This is me with my friend Vanessa.  She's preggers!  Hooray!  Now I'm not the only one in our group of friends who's spawned!



And here's some shots from work.  I'm making a collage of Polaroid portraits with co-workers and setting it up in the news room.  I keep joking it's a "reminder" to our morning counterparts that we're still alive.  You see, we're divided up  between "morning crew" (start at 4-5 am to do show) and evening crew (we prep the next day's show.)  So, we really don't get to see one another.  That kinda sucks.

(PS...check out the crazy equipment behind us!  So many blinking lights...and yes, I know how to operate some of it, mwahaha!)


Fun times!  Hope your Saturday is going awesomely!  I made a pretty good score at the thrift store, including this dress.  I plan on wearing the hell out of it this summer.


Ciao for now!

~E

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Folklore Friday...First Edition!

I am *so* excited to  be debuting this new little series on my blog!  Each week one of my awesome readers and friends will regale tales of legends and lore from their home towns.  To start the series off is the lovely Amanda.  Take it away Amanda!

*****


Hi there!  I'm Amanda, also know as The Fancy Lady Gourmet.  I'm a baker by profession and an avid blogger, where my focus is on fashion and baked delights.  I'm a super girly girl but as most people who know me well know I have a big love for anything creepy, weird and paranormal as well.

In the 4th grade I moved from an urban area to a more rural setting (it's actually on a mountain)...the town is called West Milford.  I lived there for 13 years until we had to sell our house. When I first moved there I hated it so much.  I didn't want to live in this hicktown, but as I got older I ended up really loving it.  It's very beautiful up there and also very spooky on the long, windy, unlit roads at night.  Our town was most known for a road called Clinton Road.  They even featured it on the Travel Channel as one of the creepiest roads in America.  You can check out more info on this road here.  We took countless trips down that road at night and oddly enough the creepiest experience I had was during broad daylight on a sunny day.  The road is really long and once you're on it, it seems like the road will never end.  There are crazy turns that you don't see coming and it can be really dangerous. This is probably where a lot of car crash ghost stories came from. 


 Well, back to the sunny day!  I was actually driving on the road with my mom and this white old pickup truck appeared almost out of nowhere behind us.  They kept driving up really close and swerving, I think to try and scare us.  I couldn't make out who was driving but they didn't quit...it was like they wanted to run us off the road.  Then coming the other way another car appeared!  When we turned around the truck behind us was gone and there was no way he could have turned anywhere. 


The road is strange because for the first mile on both sides there are houses and it seems like any other road...and then nothing.  No houses, just a lake, trees, and the bridge where there is a legend about a little girl who died there.  It's said if you stop your car and throw a quarter in the creek she will throw it back.  The one time we tried that we ended up getting pulled over by a cop who harrassed up for being on the road, haha!  




There is also said to be a witches cult in the back woods and also home to the KKK.  If you go to the lake and wander off you can see what looks like abandoned houses in the distance and that's where they are said to hang out, but who knows. The road is very creepy even during the day, I wouldn't wanna be on it alone.  





Our town in general is said to house a lot of creepy stories.  It used to be a mining town or something along those lines.  Up until a few years back there was a road with 6 or so abandoned houses, it was like a mini ghost town.  Kids would say all the houses still had stuff in it and one had a dinner table set up like the people were going to come back at any time.  Nobody ever has an answer to what happened and why they were empty.  They eventually knocked it down and built big new houses. 

And that is my tale!

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Very creepy!!  I think it's so interesting how Amanda mentioned the "ghost truck" experience.  My grandma and mom have told me of a story very similar to that which happened to them years ago at a neighbouring Native Reservation.  EEEK!

Alright, ladies and gents!  Do you have an interesting tale from where you live?  Shoot me an e-mail if you'd like to have it featured!  eeegadserin (at) gmail (dot) com.  I can't wait for next Friday and for some more creepy stories!

Much love,

~E