COOKIES &VODKA MUSINGS OF A CURIOUS CREATIVE ON STYLE, DESIGN, TASTE, CULTURE & THE ARTS
THE ART OF STAYING PUT LEARNING TO EMBRACE THE CITY WE CALL HOME. Between kindergarten and post-secondary education, I attended 13 different schools and never stayed longer than two years in any given place until high school. While I could have spun stories of nefarious behaviour to earn notoriety in every new home room class, this outwardly transitory circumstance can be attributed solely to being a child born into a family of educators. Constant change has taught me precisely how to not feel settled anywhere, at anytime, under any circumstance. Ironically, this month’s theme, The Embrace, is all about appreciating and celebrating the surroundings in our own city. This concept is particularly unsettling, given that consistency is my emotionally unavailable lover. The one constant of this life is my dear friend, change, which is the unlikely teacher of resilience, tenacity and adaptability. These traits become the backbone of surviving teenage acne, torpedo boobs, broken hearts, and playground drama. Perhaps then, the idea of The Embrace is simply
about learning just how to feel settled. This concept is not about “settling” because that’s a dirty word that, in my opinion, earns no gold stars in anyone’s vocabulary. While we could argue semantics together, etymology isn’t a strong suit of mine unless it can explain why there is a “d” in fridge but not in refrigerator. While at the time I didn’t realize it, my move here in 2002 led me to officially call Calgary home. This is a common experience shared by many Calgarians, as our paths, for various reasons, ultimately led us to this city. Admittedly, the places we call home are often also the places we take for granted. Yearning for the cool water and salty air of the seaside, burrowing toes in the hot cover of white sands, or a wind beaten face and a heavy pack on our back, is a feeling we all share. The beautiful truth is, Calgary provides a community and the opportunity to have it all. While I could cumulate a long list of Calgary attractions, you can use the Google machine for that. Instead, here are a few of my favourite experiences that remind me to be grateful for this amazing city we all call home. LAZY AFTERNOONS Tucked away in the neighbourhood of Elboya, Stanley Park leads down to the Elbow River, where you can find a spot in an expansive field to sun, or lay in the shaded slopes down near the water. Necessities include an oversized Turkish blanket, a large S’Well bottle (which conveniently happens to fit a full bottle of white wine) and depending on your style, either a Frisbee or your favourite novel. Should you tire of reclining, there will be numerous entertaining characters to watch floating along the river on plastic dinosaurs — another thing to
try if you have more patience for inflatables than I do. SHADED WALKS While living in Lakeview several years ago, I haphazardly discovered the “secret trails” hidden within the community. I’ve been sworn to secrecy and can’t share the exact locations of these charming paths, but they weave in and out of “The Village” providing opportunity to house-gaze while holding hands with your beau. Should sweaty palms prevail, the neighbourhood also houses several other worthy attractions including The Earl Grey Golf Club, The Calgary Canoe Club, and North Glenmore Park. Between sailing lessons on the Glenmore Reservoir, beautiful bike paths, and plenty of off-leash dog areas for “Dumb-Dumb” to expel excess energy, this charming community still continues to be relatively unknown.
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STAYCATION Lying in bed until noon in skivvies, and ordering room service shouldn’t be reserved only for holidays. My favourite guilty pleasure is booking a night or two at Le Germain, and hitting Stephen Avenue afterwards for brunch – with mimosas, of course. Another great option is to valet your ride at the Hotel Arts and spend the day at the pool located in the interior of the building. Sip summer inspired libations while sunbathing, and listening to down tempo electronica.
Amanda is the founder and creative director of her own full-service custom design firm, Amanda Hamilton Design. Keep up with her latest projects @ahidtweets.
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