Final Farewell – Highlights of 2021

And just like that, the end of the year is only a few days away. Wild.

I’ve made it a habit in the past 5 years to try and take the time to reflect on everything that made up the year — the ups, the downs, the twists and turns–all of it. I do this because I know that one day I may start to forget, and truthfully nothing is as fun as reliving your memories through photos, handwritten notes, or for me, re-reading some of my old blog posts to see where I was at in life.

If you can believe it, 2021 marked a lot of firsts for me. The news and social media kept reminding me that I was being robbed out of some of the best years of my life due to the pandemic. But the thing with me is, I’m an optimist – so that didn’t really jive. Although 2020 was a blur of emotion and restrictions, I made it a personal goal to ensure that 2021 was going to be a year of excitement and celebration.

So here are my 2021 Highlights:

Vaccinations
I started collecting pictures in an album on my phone of all my immediate family members receiving their double shot of protection. It was pretty monumental. Healthy family = happy Alicia.

Made homemade pasta for the first time.
We actually made a delicious crab and ricotta stuffed ravioli…is it even a question that I blogged about it? Nope. This was so satisfying since it had been on my cooking bucket list for quite some time.

We also enjoyed a few nights of fresh fettuccine too – sooooo GOOD.

Family Day 2021 – Virtual – Chopped Edition

Every year, my family does a food-related event or trip somewhere on Family Day and over the past 4 years, we’ve explored Montreal, Toronto, and Niagara-on-the-Lake x2. It’s one of my favourite things to look forward to every year, but with Covid? Improvisation was key, my friends.

The four of us played Chopped from afar! Our S.O’s/close friends were involved in gathering the secret ingredients and we had 30 minutes to cook a dish using frozen shrimp, wonton wrappers, canned pineapple, orzo, and brussels sprouts. I have never moved faster in the kitchen LOL. But we had so much fun and all did an incredible job being creative with each of the basket items. I can see us easily doing this again another year.

Celebrated 6 years with my hunny

Our second Covid anniversary!! We treated ourselves to a takeout dinner from one of our favourite restaurants and looked back at all of our cheesy photos we took together over the years (soOOO many, its embarrassing). Love you Ry xo

I turned 25 and joined the quarter century club. Woooooo!

And then in August, so did Ryan!

First all-friends girl trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake
5 of us girls were on a mission to go away for the weekend and have a hot-girl summer winery trip. 10/10 would do again.

Plenty of laughs, plenty of girl talk, plenty of smiles and hilarious photos under lock and key. I’ve really relied heavily on friends this year more than I usually do – and these girls know me through and through. There are already talks underway for our next adventure.

Got reaaaally into playing poker this summer – and won my first entire game against Ryan’s Dad aka the Grand Master Jedi of poker.

My first Friendsgiving!

Phenomenal food and even better company. The plate speaks for itself.

Booked our first official vacation as a couple!

…that may or may not be ruined by the Omicron variant running rampant. It is crazy to think that after 6 years of dating, we’ve never travelled on a plane together outside of Ottawa. 6 YEARS, people. I blame a number of things: us both being broke-ass students, us working part-time jobs in the summer in two different cities, starting our careers at the same time and having to wait for our probation period to end, COVID… literally everything has gotten in the way.

Hopefully (fingers crossed) this trip will still happen and we will be able to reflect back on all the work it took to get us on this one vacation. I am manifesting it every day! The Caribbean is calling!

For funsies, this was me taking a staycation back in February and making the best of it LOL. Yes, that is my beach view on theTV & yes that is me enjoying a piña colada while it was -30 degrees just outside the window.

Honourable food mentions of the year:
Roasted tomatoes with burrata and fresh focaccia – drool.

Flank steak…like, 4 times in the summer.

& my own wine tasting in January – featuring truffle triple cream brie, super-aged Beemster XO, my mom’s homemade tequila red pepper jelly, and OKAAA.

Welcomed a new furry friend to the family.

Everybody, meet my new brother: Archie !!

and for the grand finale…

WE BOUGHT OUR FIRST HOME!

In the beginning of December, we closed on our beautiful new build just outside of Ottawa and have been soaking in the happiness of what this both means to us and for the next chapter of our lives. We tried playing in the real estate market in early 2021 but very quickly realized that we could never compete with bidding wars or those who already had a stake in the market.

Ryan and I are so extremely grateful that we got to work with an incredible small builder who not only made this process extremely relaxing and worry-free, but who understood how monumental this was for us as young homeowners. We also couldn’t believe all of the love and support that our family and close friends were sending our way as we went through this process.

We still look at each other from time to time and say, “We live here, right?” with giddy smiles on our faces and overwhelming excitement in our eyes. So despite our major delay in appliances (it was bound to happen sadly) and despite living among boxes and minimal furniture, we couldn’t have asked for a better way to end our year.

And I am STOKED to have this as my new playground!!! Literally the kitchen of my absolute dreams.

So with that, this is my last post of 2021. Although it’s hard to say goodbye to a year filled with so many awesome memories, I can’t help but still be excited for a fresh start. I want to wish you and your loved ones success, love, happiness, and most importantly, health in the new year and can’t wait to see what 2022 brings us all.
As always, peace and good eats.
-A❁