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!
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 friday, i trecked down to los angeles along with my mom and another food-loving mother/daughter duo to try the new joan’s on third, which opened recently in studio city. i already know this area well because it is the home of my favorite vegan restaurant, sun cafe, as well as many other cute shops and eateries so when i found out joan’s was opening its second location here, i was over the moon. the grand opening was while i was in ohio but all semester, i was looking forward to visiting when i got home. the space is much like the third street location but seemed much more spacious and airy. the food was wonderful as always and we walked out with a few extra treats and last minute christmas presents for friends and family. so happy to see my favorite LA eatery growing and thriving and fingers crossed they open a store in orange county soon
this year for thanksgiving, I went to my dear friend julia’s parents house in the woods of connecticut. i went here once before for thanksgiving during my freshman year at cedarville and it was a wonderful experience that i’m blessed to have the chance to repeat. we drove 12 hours thru the night the tuesday before thanksgiving because we heard there was going to be a snowstorm in connecticut wednesday morning. literally as soon as we arrived to julia’s, it started to snow and snow and snow. on thursday, we had thanksgiving dinner at julia’s grandparent’s house, which already felt familiar because of my last thanksgiving spent there. we played pictionary and apples to apples and had races to fill out maps of the US and Canada with some of the Canadians we had visiting. after thanksgiving, we had a pretty chill break, filled with homework in coffee shops, watching the original pride and prejudice, baking and candle lit dinners due to power outages. i had a ridiculously large amount of homework to do due to finals week starting right after thanksgiving break but i ended up having a great time of fun and fellowship regardless of my workload. i ended up missing the first monday back because we were driving but God is good and all my teachers moved back our assignments so i didn’t miss anything.
i have realized that as i have gotten older, most of my old sweet vices have slowly gone away. most baked goods are off limits because of my gluten allergy, ice cream because of my dairy aversion, candy seems too sweet, chocolate too rich, etc. but i will never tire of macarons. they are light and gluten free (usually) and when done right, just the perfect amount of sweetness and richness. so since paris is the macaron capital of the world, i couldn’t go without trying as many as possible. i was fortunate to go to paris with emily, a fellow macaron lover. i have a theory that people either adore macarons or detest them and we are definitely in the first camp. one afternoon, we decided to stop by the two macaron kings in town, ladurée and pierre hermé, to test each and see which actually was the best. after spending a pretty penny (those things aren’t cheap!) and having the hardest time finding the pierre hermé shop on the champs-élysées (it was in a high end pharmacy… who’d have thought?), we finally settled in the jardin des tuileries to test our purchases. there weren’t as many flavor overlaps as we had expected but we tried a chocolate, pistachio, lemon and rose from each store, as well as many other unique flavors. overall, the pierre hermé flavors were stronger and more unique while ladurée’s were more delicate and simple. i preferred pierre hermé while emily liked ladurée but we came to a consensus that ladurée has the best rose, pierre hermé the best lemon and the chocolate were too different to even compare. my favorite flavor of the day was vanilla bean and marie antoinette from ladurée and passion fruit and pistachio from pierre hermé but honestly, almost every flavor hit it out of the park (except for licorice and salted caramel… never again). our taste test in the tuileries is definitely one of my favorite (and yummiest) memories of the trip
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