Monday, December 31, 2012

No pressure goals for 2013

PhotobucketWell folks, tomorrow's the big day. The new beginning we so desperately desire after the holiday season. The start of a fresh calendar. The time when everyone turns their attention to their weight and their career goals and ambitions and make lofty goals. But, I have to wonder, how many of us see our New Year's resolutions through to the end? I can tell you, the goals I make at this time of year are NEVER fulfilled. It's a funny thing, really. I mean, I'm a goal setter and achiever. It's what I do. I love lists. I love crossing things off those lists and I love the sense of accomplishment when every single item is crossed off said list. But, for some reason, when it comes to New Year's resolutions, I fail. In fact, I almost always fail miserably! And, somehow, unlike all other goals I make in life, I don't care that I failed when it's a New Year's resolution. So, I decided this year, rather than making a list of weight loss goals and career goals, I'd throw together a fun list of activities that I can fairly easily accomplish in 2013. And, if I don't accomplish them, well, who cares!


Do you make New Year's resolutions, either fun or real? What's on your to-do list this year?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

At this time last year: December

Every month I like to do a little recap of where I was one year ago. I find it reminds me of where I've been and what I've accomplished since then. And, it also reminds me of where I want to go. December is always a fun month to look back on. Although it's riddled with the stress and anxiety of preparing for the big day, there is also so much joy and excitement to remember. It's a month filled with crafting, parties, time with family, good food and good times. So, here for you, is how I spent December 2011.

Last year, I went to my friend Lynn's card making workshop and made all of my cards in one evening. It was awesome. Lynn has everything you can imagine – stamps, sparkles, punches, fancy paper, you name it, she has it – so, I went nuts!


It was also last December that I started my Etsy shop... which I have subsequently let die. I am selling my flowers in a shop in Jasper, though, and I have sold them at craft fairs. They're out there, they're just not on the internet. The truth is, I love them, but I'm not passionate about making them and attempting to make money off of them. I would rather make them as gifts, sell them and give the money to charity or just make my money back by selling them for cheap. So, that's what I'm doing and that's what's making me happy one year later.

Side note: wasn't my hair gorgeous!? Oh my gosh, do I ever miss it. I decided a couple of months ago that I must have it back, so no more haircuts for me – at least for a little while.


It blows my mind that this was a year ago already. That means that Ian and I haven't taken out the fondue pot in 12 months!! I think that means it's time for a fondue party. Heck ya!


If you've been hanging out around these parts for awhile, you'll likely remember this photo. It's from our apartment photoshoot. This was one of the last ones we took. I seriously love taking photos with Ian. Not only does he have all of the necessary equipment, he has all kinds of goggles and clothes that make for amazing costumes, and he has brilliant ideas and he knows how to bring them about. I guess that's the sign of an creative mind. Sometimes I sit in awe of his imagination and wish I had even a sliver of it to hold as my own.


Last Christmas, I spent with my sister Kathy, her husband Mike and Mike's mom and dad, Rosemarie and John. We had a lovely relaxed holiday together in Kelowna, with time for Value Village shopping, crafting, cooking, eating, and much merrymaking.


After Christmas, I bused to Vancouver to see my brother and nephews. It was so fun to sit down with the kids and watch them open their gifts and to help them open the packaging. It was also amazing to be back on the West Coast where there wasn't even a single patch of snow on the ground. Oh how I love walking around in a light jacket at the end of December, especially if I'm walking around Stanley Park when it's all lit up and festive.


Before I left, my brother and I had a day to ourselves, so we decided to hit up the aquarium. I had never been, so it was amazing to see... and, as I discovered, incredibly difficult to photograph.But like the above photo, there were a few gems in the bunch. I just low the glow! So pretty.

After my visit, I took the train back to Jasper (a 20 hour trip!!) and was home in time to take a quick nap, change and head out for a New Year's Eve shindig with a few of my pals. It was a busy month, as it always is, but it's always a good one to look back on.

Do you remember what you were doing in December of last year?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fortified Christmas


I know it's not news that Ian and I build forts in the living room. I showed you one last month. But, for Christmas, since we had already celebrated on the 22nd and again on the 24th, we decided there was no better way to spend the day than inside a bigger and better fort. So, after opening a few presents and eating leftover turkey soup for brunch, we grabbed all the blankets and sheets and got to work on a HUGE, living room-sized fort to surround our couch.


It was in that fort that we spent the entire day. We watched movies (28 Days Later, Sin City and The Fall), ate munchies, drank Baileys and coffee and beer... and whiskey, and just cozied up for the entire day. Although it wasn't Christmas with the fam, it was definitely a good day. Plus, we got our family time in, as well, through phone calls and Skype chats between movies. So, really, it was kind of perfect.


The story should end there, but it doesn't. You see, the fort was so well made and amazing that we decided we would leave it up for just one more day. But, one day turned into a couple more days and before I knew it, I was making phone calls and doing work from inside a blanket fort.


Yeah. It's a bit weird. But, no, I don't want it any other way. In fact, if I'm being completely honest, the fort remains intact today. And, at this rate, who knows when it will come down. It might take a gathering of friends for us to finally admit that our fort has served its purpose. But, then again, I'm sure we could fit three more people in here, so maybe that'll just become an excuse to have a fort party!!

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

What to Wear: Christmas morning

Photobucket Happy rest day, friends. I hope you're enjoying a relaxing day at home with a cup of coffee, a blankie and a good book. I know that's how I like to unwind after the madness of this joyous season.

PhotobucketSo this is my Christmas morning get-up. I received these gorgeous Stanfield-style long johns in a gift exchange on Saturday night. They're child-sized, so they are ever so slightly too small (hence the open buttons). But, either way, these bad boys are rad! I'm so stoked to finally own a pair. I eyed them up all the time when I was a northern girl in Yellowknife. So, it's totally awesome that I officially have a pair. Plus, bear bottom! How great is that!? Also, you're welcome for the bum shot.

What did you wear on Christmas morning? Do you go with PJs or are you a shower and get totally made-up kind of girl? (I can understand both. I mean, there are photos, so of course you don't want to look like a TOTAL slob. But, on the other hand, it feels slightly less authentic to get dressed.)

Well friends, that's all from me today. Don't forget to check out what the other What to Wearers put together for today's post. You can find them all at their respective blogs:

Katherine: thinkin' outloud
Lisa: lala faux bois
Hebe: These Happy Places

If you'd like to join in the What to Wear fun, throw me an email. We'd love to have you on board.
On Jan. 10, we're dressing up in our best stripey outfit!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A misfit Christmas

We had our big Christmas shindig at our place on Saturday night. It was awesome. No joke, it was the best holiday celebration I've had in a long time. Dinner turned out amazingly well (Ian's first turkey. High-five Ian!). We had a house full of great friends. Our fridge was stalked with delicious beverages. My tree was shining bright, and we were even treated to some live music from a few of our guests (and Ian!). It was truly perfect! Anyway, without further ado, here are some photos from our cozy little gathering.

The evening included my favourite people, colouring placemats, eating the most amazing Brussel sprouts (green balls) to ever grace my plate, listening to our pal Hector serenade us with gorgeous Spanish love songs, a silly gift exchange, teamwork in the kitchen – before, during and after the cooking – and good old fashioned merrymaking. I wouldn't have had it any other way.

How was your Christmas? Were you with your family or did you spend it with your friends?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Holiday greetings

Happy holidays to all of you out there in the blogosphere. I hope each and every one of you are stuffing your faces with butter tarts and hot chocolate (with Baileys of course!) and enjoying the company of your family and friends. If you're lacking on the family front this year (like me), just add a little extra Baileys to your cup and party it up with your pals. I'm enjoying coffee and Baileys, mint hot chocolate with Baileys and, well, Baileys with more Baileys. No complaints here!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Monday giggles

I so badly wish this was my Christmas dinner. It's so awkward. He's using a palm pilot. The outfits are amazing. The list of 25 things are fairly true. The raspy old people laughter is priceless, and the Celine Dion comment from the nerdy teenager is just so perfect.

Enjoy, friends!

Tell me, what's your Christmas dinner banter like? Are you chatty or do you all sit around silently shoveling turkey into your mouths?

Happy Christmas Eve!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas card bunting


While reading Shayla's blog the other day, I came across this brilliant idea for reusing old Christmas cards as the extra pizazz on bunting, and I knew I just had to do it. I found my old cards sitting in a pile, being completely useless, and I thought, 'Well, if I'm going to keep them, I might as well make them useful.' So, the above is what I came up with.


I had never made bunting before this project and now I want to make it to hang EVERYWHERE. It's just so cute and there are so many possibilities. Like, a new one for every season!!

To make this one, I cut out two cardboard stencils, one larger than the other, in the shape of a triangle. Then, I cut out 10 small triangles out of Christmas cards and 10 large triangles out of stiff felt. Once those were finished, I hot glued the cards and felt together before attaching them all to a piece of ribbon. The whole project took me about an hour to do and I'm super happy with how it turned out.

Have you ever made bunting?

**I figure, in anticipation of all the questions about our robot painting, I better just share the story... When Ian was in photography school he had no art on the walls of his apartment, so he picked up this picture from Value Village. His intention was to take the painting out and replace it with a photo, but that never happened. So, one day, he just hung the painting for the sake of having something on his wall. It hung there for months until he was finally inspired to improve it. And by improve it, I mean, he was inspired to put a robot on it. That was years ago, and it is still one of his most prized possessions, and it's also one of my favourite pieces of art in our apartment.**

Thursday, December 20, 2012

LOTM: Bundled up, mountain-style

Photobucket We're well into winter here in Jasper, so it only makes sense to show you how we mountain-dwelling ladies dress for the weather. I wore this outfit when it was about -15 C and I was toasty warm (at least for the first hour, anyway). My motto when it comes to dressing for the chilly winter months is: layer, layer, layer, and then throw on one more just for good measure.

Photobucket In this case, I went for a pair of skinny jeans that I can easily tuck into a pair of warm boots, a long sleeved top, a long wool sweater, a jacket, a cowl and two pairs of mitts. Oh yeah, and I also threw on a pair of extra-long socks to add a layer of warmth to my calves.

From top to bottom:
Jacket: Value Village (heck ya!)
Sweater: Walmart
Mitts: Craft fair 
Jeans: American Eagle
Socks and boots: Ardenes

Photobucket My cowl was made by my pal Mel over at Needle and Nest. I just adore it. It tucks right into my jackets and keeps the wind at bay. Plus, I can pull it up as high as I like. On this day, while running between my tripod and my photo position, I had it pulled up right over my nose, to keep it toasty warm (and to avoid that awkward Rudolph look I get when I'm cold).

Photobucket So there you have it. That's how I bundle up for a quick wander through the snow or a trip to my favourite coffee shop. What do you wear when you're trying to keep warm?

Don't forget to check out what the other Ladies of the Mountains put together. I bet they all look absolutely fabulous all layered up.
Gentri of Gentri Lee
Lena of Musings
Michelle of On The Adventure
Meagan of The Egg Out West
Kelley of A Crooked Trail
And, this month's guest blogger, Hannah of The Braided Bandit

P.S.  I just want to note that if I were going on a legit winter adventure, there is no chance you'd catch me wearing the above shoes. No sir-ee. You see, those little guys aren't insulated. So, they would SUCK for a long walk through the snow or any other activity where you might be standing on the cold ground for any period of time. What would I wear on a winter excursion, you might ask? Well, of course, my always fashionable, child-sized Sorels. Those bad boys will keep my feets warm no matter what. 

Oh! And, another thing. I would also have a hat. There's no going outside during winter without something to keep those ears warm. They're the first to get hit by the biting wind. So, anyway, the moral of the story is, if you're going to spend a few hours out in the cold, please dress appropriately. Layer up. Wear a toque. Cover your neck. Keep your fingers warm with legit mitts and don't skimp on the footwear. Nothing kills a winter adventure like being cold. So, make sure yours is the best it can be by bundling up like a champ. 

Now get out there, won't you? .... and then come back and tell me all about your toasty-warm, fun-filled winter adventure.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Up goes my baby tree


I finally have a Christmas tree! Finally! I'm so excited. I went out with my pals Maarty and Sarah and cut this adorable wee little guy down on Saturday. And when I got home from our tree cutting/shopping adventure, I was so excited to get my tree up and decorated that I literally left bags and bags of groceries unpacked and sprawled all over the hallway, while I got my tree in a vase (his tree stand).

All of my decorations were made by me in the last couple of weeks. I made it my mission to make each and every one of them. The only things that aren't handmade are the chocolate bells and the garland... and the lights of course. I'm really happy with how my handmade creations transformed a regular old baby tree into a totally festive, adorable Christmas tree.


With the lights on in my living room and the Christmas cards and gifts surrounding my little tree, I'm finally starting to feel festive. I can't believe that Christmas is only six days away!! All I have left to do is wrap my gift exchange present and bake some delicious goodies, and then it's party time. I can't wait to drink hot chocolate and Baileys, eat turkey and enjoy the company of my pals.

I hope my tree and my new-found Christmas spirit will be enough to make each of them find their own while they're away from their families this year.

Happy last minute shopping and wrapping everyone!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thankful Tuesdays: record collection


I love music. I really do. If you ask me, a good album or playlist can make or break any situation. So, today, I thought I would share a few of the albums I play the most. (Instead of a TV, we have a record player as the focal point of our living room, so for us, vinyl is where it's at. If I'm being honest, though, all of the records belong to Ian. In fact, before I met him, I hadn't touched a record or a record player since I was a kid dancing around my basement listening to the Beach Boys on repeat.)


Nowadays, though, when I need a dance party, I throw on Stars on Long Play. This album is the best. Seriously, it makes me so happy. Basically it's one band singing snippets of songs from the 50s, 60s and 70s and turning those snippets into an album length song. It's kind of like if Girl Talk were to actually sing the songs he's mashing up into pure magic.


And then there's Bob. Good ol' Bob. This record reminds me of being a kid. My mom was a big Bob Marley fan back in the day (hence why my brother and I now ADORE all things reggae), so growing up we heard songs like No Woman No Cry all the time. I can still remember my mom whistling it. She wasn't much of a singer, but she sure can whistle.

You'll also notice Tom Waits chillin' out by my feets. Some days, all I want is to listen to his gravely voice sing me songs about Singapore. There's something about his I've drank so much whiskey and smoked so many cigarettes in my day voice that makes me swoon.


If you've been hanging out here at Gypsy in Jasper awhile, you'll already know I basically live and die for Billy Joel's Stranger. In fact, I love this album so much that Ian and I recreated the cover art, with me modeling as Billy Joel. Yup. That's what fans do. And, no, it's not weird.


If you don't know The Meters, you need to go get your funk on. Seriously, these guys know how to make an album. I get super pumped up when I listen it. It makes me bob my head and tap my foot and shimmy on the kitchen floor.


And, then, there's Culture Club!! Ian and I just found this little gem at a local thrift shop and I had to have it. I've only listened to it once so far, but I already know it's going to be in frequent rotation on our turntable (whether Ian likes it or not!!).


Although I could probably go on and on, I'm going to leave this post on a high note with this amazing Ry Cooder album. Cooder is a folk, rock, bluesy genius. This is his second album, and because I haven't heard a ton of his other ones, I'm going to go ahead and say it's the best one.

Are you guys music buffs? Do you collect records? What do you have on repeat these days?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Icy adventures on Grits and Moxie


Heyyyyyyy guys. Today I'm over on Grits and Moxie talking about an icy adventure I went on last week. Be sure to check it out for more amazing photos like the one above. It was seriously an magical little outing that I recommend everyone take... you know, if you ever find yourself chillin' out in Jasper. So, head over to Jennifer's beautiful blog to find out more.

See ya over there!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Blogger meet up

Today I'm meeting Summer from Oh Summer Candy!! Summer lived in Jasper for the summer months and found my blog after she left to move back out east. She's back in town for the holidays to spend Christmas with her boyfriend, so today we're getting together for a coffee and some blogger chat.

I just love how this little space has opened my life up to new connections and friendships. It's so amazing to meet people, both in person and in the online world, who have similar interests and ideas as me. And, it's just so nice to meet other bloggers – people who get what this whole online community is about without me having to fumble my way through an inarticulate explanation. I find it so awkward and difficult to talk about my blog with people in my day-to-day life. Even if they compliment a post or Gypsy in Jasper in general, I clam up and find myself going red in the face. (I might also sweat a bit, or a lot...)

It's funny. This blog is such a big part of my life, but in the same breath, I'm embarrassed by it and awkward about it. I think that's mostly because most people don't understand blogging. They don't get why I do it or why so many others do. And, they think it's weird to share all of your adventures, DIYs, wishes and wants, recipes and whatever else with the entire world. And, I guess, they're right. It is a bit weird. But, it's also really great. I mean, if I didn't start this blog and maintain it, I wouldn't be meeting Summer today and I wouldn't have met dozens of other amazing people.

It's a catch-22, this whole having a blog thing. But, if I'm being honest, I can't imagine not having this space. Nor can I imagine not having all of you in my life. So, I guess that means a wee-bit of awkwardness and embarrassment is worth the joy that being a bliggity blogger brings me each day.

Happy Sunday everyone. Thanks for reading and for being my blog pals. You-all are the best!

Friday, December 14, 2012

"You look weird" sans specs


While at Ian's Christmas party last weekend, a few of my friends made a big stink about how "weird" or "different" or "not me" I looked without my glasses, and it got me thinking... How can I look less me by being just me? And, how, after only wearing glasses for six months, do my glasses already define my look?

I don't blame my friends for reducing me to a pair of specs, I get that they're used to seeing me a certain way, but it still left me feeling strange. I mean, some days I look in the mirror and think, "what's missing" and realize it's my glasses. And, some days I long to hide behind my plastic frames and lenses. But, in the long run, I don't know how I feel about being told I don't look like myself without them.

What are your thoughts on being defined by one feature or accessory? I'm I over thinking this?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What to Wear: on a road trip


If you ask me, road trips call for the comfiest of clothes. Depending on the length of the trip, that can be anything from cozy old jeans to PJ pants. While planning this outfit, I was thinking about what I would wear on a trip to Kelowna to visit my sister. That's about a seven-hour drive, so it's long enough that you want to be in breathable, moveable clothes, but not quite long enough to justify sleepwear.

So, I went for an infinity scarf, a long sleeved top, an oversized cozy sweater, jeans, wrist warmers and my new boots, which are basically just glorified slippers. Since it's winter around these parts, I would also bring my ski jacket, a pair of good gloves, a toque, and my snow pants along, just in case Waldo breaks down and I end up out in the cold trying to bring him back to life. You don't want to be caught unprepared, after all. Frostbite and hypothermia aren't hard to come by if you're not dressed for the elements. (Just a friendly reminder for all of you driving home for Christmas!)


These wrist warmers are the BEST for driving. They keep your hands warm and you still have the use of your fingers! Brilliant. Plus, they're just super-duper cute. Amiright!?

Well friends, that's all from me today. Don't forget to check out what the other What to Wearers put together for today's post. You can find them all at their respective blogs:

Katherine: thinkin' outloud
Lisa: lala faux bois

Be sure to check back with all of us on Dec. 27 when we show you what we wore on Christmas morning. (I already have my outfit all planned out. Hello snowflake tights. That's right, I'm looking at you!)

Are you driving home for Christmas this year? What are you wearing for the ride? Don't forget those extra layers! Better safe than sorry, my friends.