February is my favourite month of the year. I love the month for its shortness, the much-awaited Family Day long weekend, my birthday, and often, Chinese New Year. For all its brevity, February is more than just the month that includes Valentine’s Day, but is a month of exponential growth for me.
Marking the end of February is marking the end of a celebratory month. This year, Chinese New Year fell in late January, but that won’t stop me from sneaking it into February. With the proximity of Chinese New Year and my birthday, I’ve been tremendously spoiled, and would like to share my favourites from this month.
Favourite Holiday: Chinese New Year
I love Chinese New Year for all its vibrant reds and golds, lion dances, incredible music, and gorgeous attractions. Chinese New Year is a time for celebration and an embracing of something I’ve loved since childhood.
I’ll be honest that Chinese New Year was partially my favourite holiday as a child because of the lucky money pockets I received. Accumulating money during the New Year was not something I would say no to. But now, each New Year, I am more and more grateful for the sights and sounds than for the flow of red into my hand.
Lion dances were always my favourite. The loud, clanging music, the intense, rapid movements of the brightly coloured lions – it is a wonderful sense of nostalgia whenever I hear those cymbals. Next year, be sure to find out where your local Chinese New Year festivities are held!
Favourite Book: A Week at the Airport by Alain de Botton
Writer-in-residence for a week at Heathrow Airport, de Botton is both poignant and funny in this short novella. I was hesitant to read the work as I wondered just how interesting writing could be about an airport, but de Botton’s astute observations provide a fascinating, critical lens of our humanness. This work reflects upon itself with incredible self-awareness, and the writing in itself is wonderful for anyone looking for a brief reprieve.
Favourite Makeup Product: Urban Decay 1993
I absolutely love a neutral lip colour that isn’t too loud, but enough of a colour to be pronounced on my lips. As a birthday gift, my friends gave me a Sephora lipstick kit that included Urban Decay’s shade 1993. It is a gorgeous brown that doesn’t disappear into my skin tone, but accentuates it.
The colour is mauve-brown, and perfectly so. If the lipstick were a true brown, it might be too dark or vampy for an everyday look. 1993 is a great shade if you have a simple makeup day and want to add an extra something to your look.
Favourite Restaurant: Ox and Angela
For a birthday dinner with friends, I chose Ox and Angela, a Spanish tapas restaurant on Calgary’s star-studded 17th Avenue. With incredible items like an octopus carpaccio with the perfect amount of chew, or fried brussel sprouts that make you want to eat vegetables for the rest of your life, Ox and Angela is a must-try.
My favourite dish of the night was fried pork belly on sourdough crostini with Harissa cream. We asked the waiter if we could remove the cream due to a dairy allergy at the table, but he was wise enough to recommend keeping the cream and provided an alternative for my friend. Boy, he was right. The cream melded into the pork belly, falling apart in my mouth, rich but not overly so.
Favourite Human: Chris, My Boyfriend
He has been through some trials this month, and gotten through safe and sound on the other end. Despite the crazy amount of work he’s doing, he was still able to buy me flowers and make me a dinner on Valentine’s Day. He even made me a Grand Marnier Soufflé with real vanilla bean. I honestly can’t believe how lucky I am to have a boyfriend who continually surprises me with such meaningful, beautiful actions.
Chris was also kind enough to take me to Teatro, one of the most romantic and gorgeous restaurants in Calgary for my birthday. What’s even better? We went to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra after dinner at the Jack Singer Concert Hall. Huge tip for any students in Calgary reading this: if you sign up for student membership, tickets for the orchestra are ridiculously cheap compared to what you will have to pay once you are older.
I don’t think I say enough how much I appreciate Chris’ thoughtfulness, selflessness, and love. I am so, so grateful for his support – he even recommends topics to blog about, some of which are absolutely terrible, but it’s the thought that counts.
Those are my February Favourites! I’m not sure if I will continue writing monthly favourites as there are already so many posts like them out there, but they’re useful for me, personally. Reflecting on all the good that has happened in the past month with this favourites post is not something I am adverse to!