Monday, April 30, 2012

Gone fishin'

I always pull out the plaid for fishing/camping adventures. It just feels right!

It was the perfect outdoor kind of day on Saturday. I started it out with a jog around town, which I finished off with a half hour uphill hike that eventually took me home. Since I was jogging, I didn't bring a camera, but the trail was truly gorgeous. With all of the snow melting, everything is looking so lush and green.

Then, after my morning jaunt through the forest, Ian and I went out fishing.

The above pictures were taken at Lake Edith. We went there at the end of the day just to wander around before heading home for some dinner.


For lunch, we brought all of the fixings for delicious sandwiches, which we made while sitting on the rocks watching the water rush by. I absolutely adore making sandwiches out in the wilderness. Somehow they always taste better than the ones you make at home.

They remind me of being a kid on the drive home from the closest city from my hometown. We would often stop halfway and take out some fresh buns, meat and cheese and make sandwiches at a picnic area before hopping back in the car for the last stretch of the drive.

Fishing and outdoor picnics are two of the simple things I really enjoy in life. We didn't catch anything on Saturday, but even so, it was a great day. For us, fishing is more about the opportunity to relax outside and eat delicious picnic lunches. That's not to say we're not hoping to hook a big one, but even if we go a whole day without a bite, we still leave the river feeling rejuvenated and happy.

I mean, how can you not feel great when you're fishing in a place like this?

At one point there was literally an elk drinking across the river, there were two eagles circling overhead and there was a hawk in a nest with its babies. Sometimes it's like I live in a Disney movie.

What do you think, could I be the next Snow White?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sixties mod with pockets

It felt so good to get this dress out of my closet. I haven't worn it since late last summer, so wearing it kind of felt like a good omen. Fingers crossed the warm weather finds us soon!

I found this little treasure during a shopping adventure at Value Village last spring. It was the boyfriend's first time seeing me shop at the always fabulous VV boutique, and he really didn't know what he was getting himself into when agreed to join my sister and me. You see, when we go, we generally find ourselves with a heaping buggy of goodies to try on and we also try on half of the dresses in the store while standing in the aisle. (Hence my earlier use of the word adventure!)

Although it was more than Ian bargained for, he was actually the one that picked up this dress and forced me to try it on. So cheers to him for an awesome find (and for sticking it out with us girls as we spent four hours perusing the store).

Head to toe:
Earrings: Flea Market (London, ON)
Dress: Thrifted
Sweater: Thrifted
Tights: Value Village Halloween collection
Shoes: Ardenes

Do you have any clothes that remind you of summer?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Yarn bombing

Image from FlickRiver
Image from Visual Culture

OK, so am I way behind the times on this one? Or is yarn bombing news to everyone else as well?
Either way, it's the coolest craft movement I've ever seen. And I am so dying to get involved. I don't know that I'm talented enough to do anything as intricate as the above two pictures, but I could definitely handle a tree.

Image from Baking and Making Bristol

OK, maybe not a whole tree, but I could definitely tackle a branch or two.

Anyway, for those you who are totally behind the times, like me, yarn bombing is a type of street art that uses colorful pieces of knitted or crocheted cloth rather than paint or chalk. Basically the idea is that it adds colour to the world, but it's also eco-friendly and can be removed or changed as the material begins to break down or get ratty.

According to Wikipedia, the movement is attributed to Magda Sayeg from Houston, who says she first got the idea in 2005 when she covered the door handle of her boutique with a custom made cozy.


Anyone up for helping me use up my yarn? I'd love to beautify Jasper with some crafty ladies (and gentleman). We can go rogue and get black leotard outfits. That way when we're out at night crocheting until our little fingers are raw, no one will know we're there. Oh! And we can ninja about. Who doesn't love ninjaing? This just keeps getting better and better.

So, who's with me?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Surprise snail mail

I LOVE snail mail. I love it so much that I actually have a bit of an online shopping habit. I guess you could call it an Etsy habit. But, whatever, I love finding the little slip in my mailbox telling me I have a package. There is really nothing better than that. And since I'm a little old for care packages, I've taken it upon myself to create my own mailbox excitement by purchasing amazing things online... which brings me to my latest discovery: Fair Ivy.

Fair Ivy sends out packages each month with surprise handmade items in them. All of the goods are made in the United States by artisans and then they are shipped out in limited quantities to people in the U.S. and Canada. But when you order, you have no idea what you're getting. You just have to wait and see. I found the site while reading A is for Ampersand awhile back and had been waiting to order a package until the website was updated, but I got antsy and ordered an April "Fun Ivy" package, instead of getting the "Fair Ivy" package made just for the ladies, since that one was sold out.

Anyway, check out what I got: 


So, what you're looking at is a cute little felt munchkin from The Feltery, chocolate caramel treats from Candy Method and star earrings from what I think is called Apem Puey, but I'm not totally sure because I'm just reading a faint stamp on the box.

Now, I know the cool thing right now is to be order a Luxe Box or Glossybox, but I know myself too well and I know my overflowing medicine cabinet too well to get into that fad. I would receive the products, use each of them for a week, blog about it and then put them in my overflowing cabinet of expired products and forget about them. So I figure, Fair Ivy is just the thing for me. I know the felt creature is probably useless, but it's totally cute and I already have a spot for it on the window sill above my craft table.

My final justification for purchasing a package from Fair Ivy is that I'm supporting small business owners and crafters, which I think is totally awesome.

I can't wait until they finally release their new concept and update the website so I can get my hands on the new fun items designated just for the ladies.

What's your favourite thing to get in the mail?

Monday, April 23, 2012

I'm the queen of the castle

Today, I feel like the queen of the castle. Yup, you read that right. I'm the kid standing on top of the dirt pile and the rest of you are the dirty rascals. OK, maybe not that last part. But I feel awesome... and I am totally a queen BECAUSE I conquered my fear of heights this afternoon. Actually, in all honesty, it might not be conquered, but I at least faced my fear.

More explanation needed?

I went to take photos of evacuation training at the Jasper Tramway today and was invited to take part,
and instead of staying on the ground where it's safe, I said, "Hell ya! Count me in." So I went up the Tramway a little ways with the new employees, until the big boss man told the guy in the control room to stop the bus. And from there, we all got harnessed up and repelled down from the tram. Scary? Yes. Awesome? Yes. Feeling victorious? Infinitely yes!!

I just wish there was someone there taking photos of me, rather than me being there taking photos of them. But oh well. I can still say I did it, which is pretty awesome.

Although, the wedgie you see above. Not great! We all got it and we all felt it long afterwards as we walked around the parking lot looking as though we had just got off a horse.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spring, what a tease

I know everyone's been bowing down to the sun and the departure of snow since the spring equinox last month, but here in the Rocky Mountains it is only now beginning to feel like the season of rebirth. So I would like to take this opportunity to say welcome to the birds and the flowers and the blossoming trees. Man does it ever feel good to say that. It's felt like a long winter this year. I know that's silly considering everyone in Canada has been saying we didn't have one at all. But damn, it was long.

I mean, just this week within five minutes there was sun, rain, hail and snow. I'm not exaggerating. It all happened outside my office window. It went from one extreme to the next. (I hope by writing this I'm not dooming myself to more of Mother Nature's mood swings.)

Because all I want right now are days like yesterday. Days where I can go outside in a cardigan without a jacket. Days where I can wear flats without getting cold feet. Days when I need my sunglasses because Mr. Golden Sun is shining brightly in the sky. And days where I can sit on the patio drinking a glass of ice cold white wine without getting a chill.
Today is a bit gloomy, but it's still warm, so I won't complain. I'm sure by this afternoon I'll be able to get out on the patio for at least a cup of tea.

What are you most excited about now that spring is finally here?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A love list

I've been suffering from excruciating headaches for eight days now and have been finding it hard to stay positive. So the other day, after being inspired by one of Kaylah's posts over at The Dainty Squid, I decided to write a list of some of the things I love. I found the list was cut short when I reached the end of the page, but even so, just writing and thinking about the things that make me happy made me feel at least a little bit better about my situation.

And after my list was written, something wonderful happened. The following day, when I woke up, I found the boyfriend had written his own list. He had come across mine in the wee hours of the morning after being out with friends and stayed up to think about the things he loves. So, the next morning when I woke up, I found his notebook with his favourite things written in it.

It was such a lovely surprise to find his love list, especially since there were a few items that made me laugh and many I knew I'd find (like eating ice cubes, scotch, photographing things to highlight their beauty and bacon). I haven't asked him, but I'm sure there were a number of things on my list that he could have predicted, too.

So anyway, for a 10-minute positivity exercise, I'd say it was a pretty big success. And, although totally unrelated, my headaches are improving with the help of some anti-inflammatories the doc prescribed. So things are looking up!

What do you do when you're feeling down and out?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What to Wear: for a casual Friday

Although it's not quite Friday and this is actually what I wore on Tuesday, I would consider this a good casual Friday kind of outfit. It's comfortable, yet cute and it includes jeans, so you can't go wrong. And of course, it also includes the cutest of all cute shirts. What makes it so cute you might ask? To which I would reply, "Can't you see!? There are ruffles and the symbols for all of the different suits in a deck of cards. If that doesn't equal cute, I don't know what does!"

From top to bottom:
Earrings: Thrifted
Scarf: Ardenes
Shirt: Thirfted
Cardigan: Walmart
Jeans: Forever 21
Shoes: Ardenes

Now, don't forget to check out Jill's blog to see what she came up with for her casual Friday ensemble. And if you're curious what I wore, or would wear, for a first date or Easter, make sure to go back in time and check out my past What to Wear posts.

What's your favourite thing to wear on a casual Friday?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

At this time last year

An early evening sunset in Yellowknife last April.
Do you ever wonder who you were, or what you were doing a year ago at this time? I wonder that frequently. You see, I have been moving around a lot the last few years. I started out in Kelowna, British Columbia where I lived for five years. Then I went to London, Ontario for a year, Fredericton, New Brunswick for four months, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories for a year and now I've been in the Rocky Mountains for seven months. With that lifestyle comes a lot of wondering. I wonder how much I've changed, if at all, and I wonder if what I was doing last year was more fun or less fun than what I'm doing now. So in honour of my wonderings, I thought I would do a quick recap, according to my iPhoto history, of the things I was doing at this time last year.

I was ice fishing with friends.

I was having brunch with a group of lovely Northern girls in Yellowknife, NWT.

I was dodging enormous puddles on my way to work, while still wearing a parka.

I was attending Ian's first photography show. (If you want to see his work, visit his website.)

I was hosting art parties where we supplied the canvas and paint and our friends created pieces of art to decorate our bare walls.

I was hanging out in the wilderness with my girls, attempting to make a fire and roast smokies.

In contrast, so far this month I have made a trip to Vancouver to see my brother, where we saw a reggae show, went 10-pin bowling, visited with old friends and ate delicious food. I attended the annual Spring Fever Ladies Gala in Jasper, where I danced the night away with women of all ages. I've been out fishing a couple of times. I've made homemade pretzels. And I got my hands on my first two pairs of skinny jeans. So, I guess you could say April has been a good month in both 2011 and 2012.

Here's hoping this May lives up to last year's. It was pretty solid. I visited three cabins, reported on the federal election, went ice fishing, hosted Yellowknife's Next Top Model with my girlfriends as my models, won the costume contest at the Beer Barge, took the photo that won me an award, and I met and interviewed Buffalo Joe McBryan. 

Now that I've mentioned it, I'll leave you with one of our many group shots from our Top Model shoot. Enjoy!


What were you doing at this time last year?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Under a bridge, trolling it up

While Ian went fishing today, I nestled myself under a bridge and read my magazine. Afterward, he took these photos, which I totally love. Especially the next one, when I really troll it up for the camera. As a side note, I would usually be fishing alongside him, but I have yet to buy myself a rod or a license, so for now I'm stuck on the sidelines. I hope by next weekend my life will be in order and I'll be casting right there with him.


Attractive, right? I gotta say, I feel pretty gorgeous.

On our way to the river, we also took these photos in a grassy area that clearly burned in the not so
distant past. It was gorgeous there, aside from the copious amounts of elk droppings. (At one point, I nearly found myself sitting in a pile of it. Ick!)

I don't know if this is an outfit post, per se, but I'll tell you what I'm wearing anyway.

Top to bottom:
Earrings: Etsy
Shirt: Bluenotes
Cardigan: Theory (Thrifted)
Belt: Bombshell
Jeans: Forever 21
Shoes: Ardenes

Jasper is such a photogenic town. It's been fun finding locations to take photos since I started this whole outfit post thing. So far, though, the ones I've done in exciting places have been taken by Ian. I still haven't been brave enough to go out on my own with the tripod. The idea of getting caught has me totally freaked out about it.

I was reading Secondhand Magpie the other day and she had a creeper in the background of a bunch of her photos, which has got to be the most awkward thing ever. I don't know how some of the bloggers out there do it so comfortably. I feel like such a doofus running back and forth from my camera and then posing in front of it for all to see. I guess comfort comes with practise, but I think, for now, I definitely prefer having my own personal photographer telling me to lift my head, take a step back or to stand up straight. It definitely takes the pressure off me and if anyone sees us, I figure they'll assume we're just tourists. (The beauty of living in a tourist destination.)

Have you had any awkward outfit photoshoots? 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Skinny jeans. On me. Can you believe it?

Although I'm new to this whole outfit post thing, I think it could get a little boring standing in the same poses time and time again, so I took some inspiration from my weekend photoshoot with my brother and came up with midget tiger. (But seriously, how short do I look in that photo?)

From top to bottom:
Necklace: Craft fair
Shirt: Bluenotes
Sweater: Kensie
My first ever skinny jeans: Forever 21
Shoes: American Eagle

Let's take a moment to talk about skinny jeans, shall we? The pair I'm wearing in these photos is one of two I bought on the weekend. They're the first two pairs I've ever bought. Now that's not because I don't like them. It's because they don't generally make them for short people with a tubby midsection. Usually, you can only find low rise skinny jeans, which create delightful muffin tops on ladies like me. And usually they are only made for tall people, so when shorties try them on, they end up with floppy jean slippers.

But on Sunday, the stars aligned and I found two pairs that fit me perfectly in length and waist. I have to say, I left Forever 21 feeling fantastic - especially 'cause each pair only cost me $12.50. Heck ya! I know where I'll be doing all of my jean shopping in the future. How about you?

What's your biggest beef with clothes? Are there certain kinds that just aren't made to fit your body type?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter with my bro

When I get together with my big brother, I'm often brought to tears. Tears of pure joy, of course. The kind that only come from a good belly laugh that leaves you gasping for air and running for the bathroom so you don't wet your pants. (Hence my hunch and crossed legs.)
Before I left Vancouver to head back to the mountains, I asked Ian to take a couple shots of Dirk and I and basically all I ended up with were photos of us laughing. I guess we can thank Ian for that, though. As a photographer he sometimes reminds me of Austin Powers. In this instance, he had Dirk pretending to wave his non-existent locks in the wind and for just a moment, he even had Dirk considering a tiger pose. Sadly, it was only a moment before Dirk burst out laughing and exclaimed, "I can't do that!"

Easter weekend was a pretty big success. We managed to cram in a ton of stuff during our four days in Van City.
On Friday night we saw a Giraffe Aftermath concert on Granville Island, where I danced my little heart out, belted out some of the lyrics and even told off the sax player for only playing three songs I knew. (Hehe.) On Saturday, we got together with some of Ian's childhood friends from Yellowknife, which is always lovely and usually results in some shenanigans - in this case two intense games of 10-pin bowling. Then on Sunday, I reconnected with my own childhood friend who I hadn't seen in four or five years. It was awesome to catch up, especially since it meant getting to meet her little munchkin, who has just learned to walk and wanted to do anything but listen to grownups talk. (If I was him, I'd feel the same way. Who wants to talk about jobs and getting old when you can run around and explore with a brand new Fisher Price ball popper thing?) The weekend was wrapped up with a chicken dinner ala Ian and a screening of the Rum Diaries.
All in all, I have to say it was a pretty solid Easter.

It's spring! 

How was your Easter? Was it full of family and belly laughs? Did you pee your pants? If so, do tell me the story. I think I'd like that one.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pretzel food porn

I gotta say, having a man who enjoys experimenting with food is just fan-freaking-tastic. It means I get to eat delicious food on a pretty regular basis and it means I generally only have to pick up the groceries and do the prep work, while he does all of the actual cooking.
Case in point: homemade pretzels. All I did was pick up the yeast, brush on the egg yolk and sprinkle on salt and sesame seeds. The rest was done for me. And look how beautiful they turned out. 

They say food is the way to a man's heart, but if you ask me, food is the way to all hearts. I'm pretty sure if we had shown up on any door step tonight with a homemade pretzel in hand, we easily would have made instant friends with all of the recipients.

I know making pretzels seems like a lot of work and I also know I just admitted to doing very little of it, but seriously it's not THAT hard and it's so worth it. When they're still warm and you dip them in homemade garlic mayo you won't regret a minute you spent preparing these little morsels of happiness. So, if you want to make your own, here's whatcha do.

First you acquire these ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pans
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt

And then, you follow these steps:
1. Combine the warm water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. 
2.Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. (This can also be done with your hands. We don't own a mixer, but we make it work.) 
3. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
5. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
6. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan. (We don't use parchment paper, we just put them on a tray.)
7. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, one-by-one, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula.
8. Place on an oiled baking sheet, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt and sesame seeds (if you so desire).
9. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

I know it seems like a lot of steps, but I have faith that everyone can make beautiful crispy on the outside, soft on the inside pretzels using this recipe. (By the way, it came from the Food Network. The people over there totally know what they're doing, so trust me and them and make yourself a delicious savory treat. Oh! And don't forget the garlic mayo - mayo, crushed garlic, pepper and paprika.)

On that note, Happy Easter everyone.
I'm taking the rest of the weekend off to enjoy Vancouver. See you next week!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

What to Wear: for Easter

We're back! Slim Shaddy styles. And this time we're showing you what to wear for Easter.

It's Easter! Well almost. Tomorrow's Good Friday, so I'm taking off on a road trip to Van City to see my big bro and my two wee little nephews. I'm super excited and have already bought and filled Easter baskets for my favourite little men. Along with the baskets, I'm also planning an Easter egg hunt in the "blue park" near my brother's house. I haven't seen the kids since Christmas, so I'm really looking forward to playing fun-aunty for a couple of days. Of course, to do that, I likely won't be wearing this outfit, which is intended as Easter-wear, but if I was going to family dinner or something like that, this is what I would throw together for bunny day.

Top to bottom:
Earrings: Etsy
Scarf: Thrifted? (I can't remember.)
Shirt: Tresics
Skirt: Double Zero
Tights: Modcloth
Shoes: Ardene

Make sure you check out what Jill and Alana came up with for their Easter outfits. I haven't seen them yet, but I'm sure they're both fabulous! 
Also, if you haven't yet, go back in time and see what I would wear on a first date.

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Handmade earrings

I feel like I haven't been crafting much lately, which has been totally bumming me out. So yesterday, while I watched the first two episodes of Deadwood and drank a cup of tea, I made myself some new earrings. In fact, I made myself a lot of new earrings. I was on a roll. They're all super easy and quick to make, so I just kept going.

Fabric earrings:
I made the fabric earrings with this fabric button starter kit that I, of course, found on Etsy. The kit makes it so easy to make the buttons. Basically you just have to cut out a piece of fabric, put it over the white button maker tool, then push the button inside the tool. Next, tuck the excess fabric inside and put the back of the button on by pushing it in with the little red piece provided in the kit. To make the buttons into earrings, I just bent the metal piece on the back, hooked the earring to it and then hot glued both pieces to the back of the button.

Felt flower earrings:
I found a tutorial on You Seriously Made That? for the felt flower earrings, which are super easy to make. I've actually made the flowers into magnets in the past and finally got around to turning some into earrings this week. Basically all you need for those is a glue gun, a piece of felt, a ruler, scissors and hook earrings. For the rest of the directions, check out the link to You Serious Made That?.

Fancy button earrings:
The fancy button earrings are the easiest of the bunch and don't take any tools at all. (Aside from a glue gun, anyway.) I made these with buttons and studs. I hot glued the buttons together and then super glued the stud on the back. Then, voila! you have earrings.

Basically each pair pictured above took about 10 minutes to make. They're all super easy projects and they're all super cute.  The only problem is now my earring holder is overflowing. Oh well. There are probably worse problems to have.