this past weekend, I made the long drive to canada to hang out with Brianna, my boyfriend Brendan’s little sister, before she leaves for another semester of school in California. we’ve been wanting to go to Niagara Falls for a while so we finally decided to go. it was so so cold but it was definitely worth it. no matter how many times I see it, im always in awe of seeing the force and magnitude of the falls. I’m looking forward to going back when the ferry boats are running because I went a few months ago and it was such a cool experience! till next time Niagara Falls!
while I was an intern at fisher-price, my favorite place to eat in town was elm street bakery. I ate there everyday during my first week as an intern when I didn’t know anyone or even where the cafeteria was. I took brendan there and we went every time he visited and I had my last lunch as an intern there with some friends. it reminds me of the big sur bakery, which is a huge compliment as it is one of my favorite cafes I have ever been to. the food at elm street is amazing and changes every week or so. my favorite thing I’ve had there is the salmon tartine, which is an open faced sandwich with smoked salmon, feta cheese and arugula. here are a few pictures I snapped on my last visit to the bakery while living in east aurora.
when I read an article a few weeks back about how the biggest tree in canada was at the toronto eaton mall, I knew I had to see it! I had been to the massive mall in the heart of toronto before and they have just about every store you can imagine so I was excited to go again. the tree certainly didn’t disappoint and was probably close to 6 or 7 stories tall! I had seen massive trees before but never indoors and never with so many ornaments! we also looked at the beautiful window displays at hudson’s bay and saks fifth avenue which I thought were every bit as beautiful as the displays on fifth avenue in new york city. we walked around some more and bought some last minute gifts then piled in the car and headed to christmas eve service. tho it was last minute and we had to wake up early, spending christmas eve day in toronto was the highlight of my christmas in canada this year!
this year, I spent christmas with my boyfriend brendan and his family in london, ontario. on a whim, brendan, his sister and I decided to visit toronto, an at least two hour drive, to see canada’s largest christmas tree and do some last minute christmas shopping. toronto ended up being shockingly empty which made for some beautiful photos. we walked around in the freezing cold for a while trying to get a better look at the cn tower and find a five guys restaurant to eat lunch at, only to discover it was right next to where we parked! i’ll post some pictures of the amazing, massive christmas tree soon but for now, hope you have a great christmas celebrating friends and family but most of all Jesus, who loves us most of all.
after going to the pumpkin patch, brendan and i went on an adventure to find an apple orchard to pick some apples. since it was late in the season, most weren’t open or were out of apples but we finally found one that was an hour away that sounded promising. we drove and drove thru the countryside and finally found the picturesque apple farm. seriously, this place is adorable! but when we went to the apple picking counter to get our bags, we were informed they were out of apples as of an hour before. rats! but we decided to walk around anyways and take in how pretty the farm was. we finally found one apple at the very tip top of a tree and with brendan’s help, i finally got my apple! other highlights of our trip to the apple farm was an adorable dog that happily followed us around and the yummiest frozen apple cider! it was so good we went back for more when we were done with our first glass! i’m gonna try to make my own soon so stay turned! overall, even despite the lack of apples, it was a great day!
i know christmas season is in full swing but i found photos of some adventures brendan and i had this past fall and i just had to post them! i saw the cutest little pumpkin patch and fruit stand on the side of the road one day while taking Colette to the groomers and i knew i just had to take brendan! we finally went when brendan visited east aurora a few weeks later and it was even cuter than I imagined. the pumpkin patch was next to a beautiful, tree lined river that was perfect for photos and they had lots of chickens and goats and pigs roaming around the grounds. brendan and i walked around and bought some pumpkins and explored the river and had an all around great time! here are a few of my favorite pictures from that day.
this past week, Brendan and I headed down to Nashville for a daytrip. we visited once before when we first started dating and we had a blast but I’m gonna venture to say this trip was even better! we started our day at Biscuit Love which was super yummy and since it was a monday, we got a seat in about 20 minutes, which was nice compared to the two hour weekend waits I read about on yelp. I had shrimp and grits which has been a favorite breakfast dish of mine lately and it was excellent! after breakfast, we headed to the Opry Mills Outlet Mall to escape the heat and do some shopping. we got some seriously good deals so I didn’t feel too guilty we went to an ordinary mall instead of site-seeing. next, we went to Crema, which I can honestly say I’ve been looking forward to visiting since we left the last time. they have this amazing concoction called coffee soda which is basically exactly what it sounds like: carbonated coffee! Brendan got a condensed milk latte which he assures me was great (I don’t like condensed milk but I’ll trust him).
we still had some time to kill before dinner so we headed back to the opry area to check out the Grande Ole Opry theater, which was closed but we wandered around anyways. i read on a travel blog that the hotel next door, The Gaylord Opryland Resort, had an indoor garden so we thought we might as well check it out. it was free to go inside but the parking was pricy so we opted to park at the mall and walk instead. it was a little bit of a hike, especially in the burning heat but WOW was it worth it! the gardens were beautiful and massive and the air conditioning didn’t hurt either. it was truly a phenomenal hotel! finally it was time for dinner at Rolf and Daughter, which I’ve literally been waiting years to try! we didn’t have reservations so we sat outside in the 100° heat (at 10pm!!) but the ambiance was so nice outside and the food was so good, I didn’t mind it much. I had the squid ink linguine, a dish I first tried while living in Nice at a wonderful restaurant on the beach, and I am happy to say this dish was just as yummy! we didn’t order drinks or dessert, which I’m regretting now but at least we have another reason to go back now 🙂
at the end of every semester in bible college, there is a graduation ceremony. when i was in new zealand, we would dress up and go to mongolian bbq (my second semester graduation seen here). but in york, they throw a huge party and graduation ceremony complete with an epic semester video (watch it here), lots of food, awards and an all around great time. i absolutely adore these people so this was the perfect last hoorah to such an amazing semester. a few of my close friends graduated including andie, who i went to iraq with and justin, who was my street witnessing buddy. two of my closest friends, christine and allie, had to leave before the ceremony which was a real bummer but they both live in california so i’ll hopefully be seeing lots more of them this summer. here are a few pictures i managed to catch of this wonderful night and a few of the people that made this semester so memorable.
on thursday, though it was a little rainy, we went on a hike to picnic at the waterfalls i had visited the day before with bea and chelsay. it was a great hike but the group of people made it really stellar. we ended up laughing most of the time and despite the weather, it was one of my most fond memories of the dales
while we were in the dales, we stayed in little cabins at a christian retreat compound called the jonas centre. from the cherry blossoms surrounding the campus to the big red phone booth, it was wonderful and so quintessentially english. we explored, chased sheep, played cards late into the night, had worship nights and prayer meetings, ate amazing meals and lots and lots of great fellowship. it was the perfect home base for a weekend away and i’m so glad i had my camera to capture it.