The early sunset stinks… but the light is gorgeous

We just turned our clocks back on the weekend, and are now adjusting to the sun setting before 5pm. It gets so dark, so early this time of year. That stinks for sure, but in the last few days I’ve noticed the quality of the late day light more than I did when days were longer. Like in this photo of my dog I snapped yesterday. Isn’t that light just gorgeous? I’m sure it was always like this, but the noticing made me smile.

This podcast episode made me laugh so hard

I really enjoy Maintenance Phase, the podcast from Michael Hobbes and Aubrey Gordon that debunks the junk science behind health & wellness fads, and decodes their cultural meaning. The episodes are fascinating and often make me chuckle… but their most recent episode, all about a diet book written by Angela Lansbury (of all people!) had me in stitches. Highly recommended.

The fast and easy knitting pattern I keep going back to

Those that crochet are probably familiar with Debrosse and their simple, elegant, modern crochet patterns. But amongst the crochet options, there are a few knitting ones too, including a pattern for a chic ear warmer. It’s fast and easy, and I’ve made about 5 of them for family and friends. Everyone loves these earwarmers!

I like to make them with Cascade Superwash Aran Merino yarn, because it’s 100% merino wool, washable, and is super soft. Plus it comes in a zillion colours to choose from. The yarn shop in my neighbourhood closed down last year (RIP Purple Purl) so I usually order from the Yarn Guy in East York.

I’m really looking forward to this getaway

It looks like Christmas vacation 2021 is going to be a lot like Christmas vacay 2020: low key. In anticipation of a mellow holiday season (which frankly, is just the way I like it), I’ve booked us a few nights’ stay at a gorgeous cottage.

This “treehouse” cottage is on Three Mile Lake in Muskoka, and it’s right on the water’s edge. Look at those windows! I can’t wait to sleep in this bed, and wake up with this view.

The coolest part of the cottage has got to be the custom net hammocks:

And this living room looks beyond cozy for relaxing:

The “Water’s Edge” treehouse cottage is available for rent on Airbnb. Here’s the listing, if you’d like to book it for yourself. Bonus: it’s dog friendly.

I’m back

Avery Swartz wearing a grey sweater, twirling her hair and smiling, with blue wall behind her

Hello. I’m back.

My last blog post was in July 2019. What a time it has been since then. I may go into some details about my life in the last two years, I might not… but I can say that it feels right to be back here, on the blog, after so long away.

The truth is, I’ve missed this. I wrote multiple blog posts a week for 9 years (yup, there are archives here that go back to 2010). Writing those posts, as pithy and insignificant as some of them were, put me in a routine of noticing the things I enjoyed about the world around me. Small and large things, but always positive. The site is called Stuff Avery Likes after all. This has never been a space for ranting – it’s been my tiny little corner of the internet where I keep a record of what I enjoy. Knowing that I would write about things I like helped me to notice them in the first place.

With all the ups and downs that 2020 and 2021 has thrown at us all, I think I could really use a bit more noticing of the stuff I like, and I’m happy to share it with you.

Planning for Scotland trip 2020 has begun

We’ve learned from past experience that the best summer rental properties in Scotland book up far in advance. So, just over a year in advance, we’ve booked our spot for next summer. It’s a two-bedroom log cabin called Brightwater Lodge, with spectacular views overlooking Loch Sunart on the Ardnamurchan peninsula.

This will be the first time Clara’s coming to Scotland with us, and we think it will be the perfect home base for exploring the area. Let the planning for summer 2020 begin!

PS – our previous Scotland holiday rentals, including this stunning house near Torridon, this comfortable cabin for two on Skye, and a cute apartment in Edinburgh.

Your weekend plans are now solved

A-frame cottage and dock on a lake

I’ve been following the Instagram account @EscapeToronto for a while, making note of the places that Chelsey Burnside and friends recommend for getaways from Toronto.

They’ve now launched a website with all the tips: Good Weekend Co. The site lists places to stay, eat, shop and visit within a 3-hour (ish) drive of Toronto. With summer finally here, this couldn’t have come at a better time.

Image of Trott Cottage on Lake of Bays, which is on my Airbnb wishlist ever since I saw it on Good Weekend Co.

Do you listen to podcasts with your kids?

When we drive somewhere as a family, we usually let 7-year-old Clara pick the soundtrack. It’s mostly to keep her happy during long rides. On the whole, Ian and I can tolerate the kiddie music. But lately the seemingly endless stream of kids bop is driving us a bit wild, so on a recent drive I suggested we listen to a podcast.

I heard that NPR had a science and natural history podcast for kids called Wow in the World, and downloaded a few episodes. It’s the perfect blend of humour and insight, and Clara loves it. Ian and I enjoy it too, so it keeps us all pretty happy.

Now I’m on the hunt for more kid-friendly podcasts. Any recommendations?