Thursday, February 28, 2013

LOTM: mountain beauty

This week the Ladies of the Mountains are telling you about our mountain beauty routines. This is probably the worst prompt for me because, well, when I'm out in the wilderness, I make a point not to look in the mirror. I don't want to know what I look like. I don't want to dwell on appearances. I just want to enjoy nature, without any pressure to look a certain way. Basically, what I'm saying is, if I'm doing some sort of outdoor activity, I likely look like a total greaseball while doing it. And, my goodness, does that ever make me a happy little camper!

So, rather than attempting to give you a half-hearted, totally untrue to me tip about how to style your hair so it looks gorgeous when you wake up in your tent the next morning, I'm going to tell you the one toiletry item I CANNOT live without when I'm on a multi-day adventure. Drum roll, please! That item is hand sanitizer.


Although I don't paint my nails or file them, I do care about what they look like to a certain extent. That extent being that I hate having dirt under them. In fact, I hate having dirty hands all together. It grosses me out. So, I am a hand sanitizer freak, especially when I'm out in the wilderness. After every bathroom break, before every meal, after every meal, I'm all about that stinky stuff. So, my tip for you if you're heading on an adventure that requires outhouse or bare-bum in the wilderness bathroom breaks is bring some hand sanitizer. You'll thank me when you're eating your next meal.

Oh! And another tip. Bring chapstick, especially in the winter time. Man, there is nothing worse than being out in the wilderness with burning hot, dry lips! If you don't have chapstick, you can always use hand cream, as well. Actually, that's another thing you should have on you, because after all of that hand sanitizer use, your hands are likely going to shrivel up and die a little bit. Thanks alcohol! So, yeah, give your hands a moisture break a few times a day with some hand cream.

Some stuff I'm really enjoying right now is Posh's Paper Moon body butter. Tiffany sent me a small sample and I've been using a wee bit everyday. I love the smell and the added moisture it gives my otherwise caluss-ey little hands.

To sum up...

That's it from me. I'm sure the other Ladies of the Mountains will have some slightly more enlightening tips for you today. They seem less greaseball than me. So, don't forget to check out what they had to say!

Gentri of Gentri Lee
Lena of Musings
Michelle of On The Adventure
Meagan of The Egg Out West
Kelley of A Crooked Trail
And, guest blogger Chelsea of Sea, Field and Tribe

What's your outdoor beauty tip? 

P.S. Did you know that poplar trees produce a natural sunscreen to protect their bark, and that sunscreen can be used on humans? ... the more you know! (Expect more of these insights when I return from my Survivor(wo)man course!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I will survive, hey, hey!

I decided at the last minute on Monday afternoon that I'd join a group of people who are hiking out into the bush today for two days of winter survival training. You might recall that I did a similar survival training course in the summer, but it was only a one-day thing. I'm super pumped to be going for two days and to be doing it in the winter. I'm hoping I'll learn to make an igloo or a similar shelter. You know something like this one that was made in Edmonton last month...

And, I'm hoping to learn some tricks for making fire when there's snow on the ground... and, you know, I'm hoping to learn whatever else I need to know to stay alive. Whatever that might be. Who knows, really? I'll be spending the night in a hostel, which is a lot more appealing than sleeping outside in the shelter I hope to make. I figure the shelter will be a novelty item that we can take our photos inside and next to. That makes sense, right? And it also makes total sense that we'll be making a fancy, colourful igloo, right? My expectations aren't too high, are they?

I'll let you know on Friday when I'm back in the world of internet and showers.

In the meantime, tell me, what survival skills do you know?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Life lately

Although this post is titled life lately, by the looks of these photos, it could easily be food and beverage lately. What is it about food that just calls to be photographed? Maybe it's just that I want everyone to be jealous of how well I eat? Whatever it is, here are some photos of the food I have recently ingested and pooped out. You're welcome.

1) An angel food cupcake with whipped cream on top! Nom. Nom. Nom.
2) Me wearing a sombrero at my pal Hector's place. (Not food, but equally as awesome.)
3) Two empty pints of Big Rock Honey Brown. The beer seemingly disappeared the other night.
4) Homemade (by Ian) nasi goerang — an Indonisian meal of rice, pork, chicken, prawns, veggies, delicious sauce and a fried egg on top!
5) Limes to squeeze on top of the Mexican feast at Hector's place.
6) My favourite — a grilled cheese, avocado and tomato sandwich with ketchup.
7) Asparagus to be wrapped with leaks in prosciutto and sprinkled with asiago cheese. YUM!
8) OK. My pumpkin isn't food. He's just a sad, rotting mess. I bought this guy at the pumpkin patch with Lisa last October and have had him hanging out in my living room since then. I love him to pieces and I'm so sad to see the mold forming around his stalk. I think I have about week before he starts stinking up my house. I plan to treasure our last days together the same way I would a decaying loved one.
9) Phillips Ginger Beer. This beer has a strong ginger flavour and I LOVE it. It's expensive, but oh so good. Mmmm ginger.

Well folks, there you have it, my diet! Ha.  

What have you been pooping out lately? 
**Please don't send me photos!**

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ignorance is bliss

It's nights like last night that I realize just how out of touch I am with pop culture. Every feed on every social media platform I use was overrun with Oscars updates, and for the most part I was completely and utterly confused. I mean, I wasn't watching the Oscars, so that was likely part of the problem, but I can quite confidently say it wasn't the only problem. You see, my "friends" were all talking about actors and actresses that I had never even heard of. They were talking about movies that I didn't even know existed. They were making references to events that I didn't know had happened, and posting photos of people I don't even recognize.

In a way, it's weird being so removed from a world that many people live so comfortably in. There were moments where I felt a wee bit isolated in my oblivious little bubble. But then — here comes my aha moment — I realized how much work and research it would take for me to join the masses in their pop culture party and I decided, nope, ignorance is definitely bliss for me.

What about you? Are you up on all of the celebrity gossip?

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Drinking //  A delicious homemade ice coffee.

Listening // The wurring of my fridge.

Anticipating // The feeling of satisfaction when I finish writing the story that's due bright and early tomorrow morning.

Planning // To dance it up at salsa night tonight.

Watching // The clouds slowly inch across the sky.

Missing // Friday. I wish we could start this weekend over and do it all again.

Loving // Project Life. Ian's homemade pizza. Visiting with my pal Abe. Hiking with my girl Mishelle. Eating my delicious angel food cake. And taking moments to let the warm sun sink in.

Going // To write this story and be done with it.

Making me happy //The sun streaming in the window onto my clean craft station.

What's up with you today?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Project Life: four through seven

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What up, folks? I'm back again with some PL spreads. I must admit, I'm not totally sold on week four. I think it could use some tweaking, but for the moment, this is what I'm rocking. The chevron print card on the top left was my birthday card from Lisa back in October. I had it sitting on my craft table since then and thought, rather than having it lying around, it would be awesome to incorporate it into my book. And, now I'm happy with how it turned out. (Lisa, I hope you approve of my use of your paper crafting skills.)

Anyway, week four was a week of crafting. I made my first-ever pair of slippers and an e-reader case. And, I also went to an awesome beer and cheese event and Ian took the amazing karaoke photo. I'm still in mad love with that one. Ian articulated it so well. It blows my mind just how hilarious and perfect it is.

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Week five was a week of preparing to say goodbye to my pals Nicole and Amy. If you've been around awhile, you'll likely remember these photos. We took them so we would all have a keepsake to remember our good times together. This page is pretty basic. I didn't do much. I just made the small card on the middle left to fill the hole and the rest was pre-packaged stuff from my core kit.

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The remainder of week five was devoted to my third canyon visit. Ian and I are planning yet another trip into the canyon sometime in the near future. I can't wait to see how it's changed yet again.

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Week six carries over onto the next page. For this half, I stuck with photos from our skating and curling date at Pyramid Lake. I really like how my homemade journal card turned out for this spread. I think my pal Mel from Needle and Nest would be really proud of me for getting out some doilies for this one.

 photo DSC_0057_zpsb0dd738b.jpg Here's the second half of week six. I really like the week marker I made for this page. It's simple and understated, while also kind of sweet because of the round piece of floral paper.

 photo DSC_0060_zps9c6f381a.jpg Finally, this is week seven. I kept it simple on this one, only including photos from my big snowshoe adventure. I did that for two reasons. One, I really enjoyed that adventure and liked the pictures that resulted from the day, and two, because I hadn't taken any other photos that week because I hadn't anticipated becoming a Project Lifer.

I'm excited now that I'm in the PL mindset, because I'm making the time to pull out my cellphone or camera a little more often. And, I'm also keeping in mind the little things that I'd like to include in my spread.

While cleaning my craft station earlier this week, I found tons of scrap paper, cards and things that will make my next spread even more fun to make. I really want to stray a bit more from my core kit. I made an effort to spruce the cards up a bit, but I think it would be nice to make more of the journaling cards from scratch.

Have you been doing any paper crafting lately? What kind of projects are you working on?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What to Wear: ladies night

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So this week we're dressing for ladies night, and in Ian's book that means ice cream. He honestly refused to take my photo until I had an ice cream sandwich in my hand. He even instructed where I was and was not allowed to eat, you know, so we could get the perfect shot. Now, in my books, ladies night does not require ice cream, but it doesn't hurt. Usually a ladies night here in Jasper consists of a few beers or a few glasses of wine, either at our place or a friend's place. If we do decide to go out, we'll hit up our favourite laid back pub for a jam session or we'll hit up a live band at one of the many venues in town. We're chill people, so this is a chill outfit.

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I bought my shirt to wear for our Christmas potluck back in December. I haven't worn it much since then because I'm not sure just how much I like how it hangs off my body. But, when I put it together with my new grandma-style cardigan, I felt like it was a good combo, especially with the Peter Pan collar sticking out.

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From top to bottom: 
Shirt: Bombshell (local shop)
Cardigan: Ransom (local shop)
Jeans: American Eagle
Shoes: Ardene
Earrings: Etsy
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I am in mad love with these earrings. I got them about a month ago along with a bunch of other jewelry I ordered online, and I have been wearing them non-stop ever since. I feel like they're perfect when my hair is up.

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Well, it's back to eating ice cream for this little lady. Be sure to check out what the other fashionistas put together for ladies night.
Sondra: Abhaya Yoga

If you'd like to join the What to Wear series, send me an email. We'd love to have you! Next time (March 7), we're sharing What to Wear: for St. Patrick's Day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Project Life: one through three

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My PL kit arrived in the mail on Friday and over the weekend I went paper-crafting crazy! There was paper and buttons and junk sprawled across my living room for two days. Usually I can't deal with a mess being left out in a common area, but I was so determined to catch up to week seven that I looked past the mess for a couple of days. And, guess what!? I CAUGHT UP. I did seven weeks worth of spreads in two days. (It was a magical two days, let me tell you.) I'm breaking my spreads up into two posts for you, so that you truly take the time to appreciate each week... or, so you don't get bored of scrolling through photos. Above you can see part of week one.

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For me, the first week of January is always about packing up all of Christmas decorations and cards and tucking them away for another year. So, this half of the spread was dedicated to that process.

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The second half of week one was a celebration of my new-found toque-making skills, and it was an opportunity to remember one of my Maligne Canyon adventures.

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Week two and three share a spread. The second week of January, I was in Edmonton and I ran into my high school friend John, who I hadn't seen in six or seven years. I also went Value Village shopping with Lisa and bought a bunch of super cheap tights and 10 books to get me started on my reading challenge. Oh! And, I ripped a pig heart in half for a photoshoot at work. Yeah... that happened. And, yeah, that's the heart up there in a Ziplock bag. It was thawing in a garbage can full of water.

Week three was dedicated to my ice climbing adventure because that was clearly way cooler than anything else I did that week. I used newspaper clippings from the story I wrote about the experience to go along with the photos. You can read the story here.

Well folks, there you have it, my first three weeks of Project Life. Does anyone have pointers for taking photos of your spreads? I HATE the glare on the page protectors and I want it to get the hell outta here. Help would be much appreciated on that front.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Craft station organization

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Ian and I have never been the kind of people who eat dinner at a table, so when we moved into our apartment, we decided to put our dining room space to good use. We bought a long table from the library and I made it into my first-ever craft station. This was super exciting for me. I had just received my first sewing machine for my birthday the month before (thanks Ian!) and I was ready to hit the ground running on all kinds of projects. But, quickly thereafter, my cozy little creativity corner turned into a collecting ground. Not for Ian, but for me. I would use the table as a reciprocal for envelopes, boxes, crape paper, dishes left behind by friends after potlucks, and every other piece of paper that enters our house. It was getting out of control and I rarely sat there to do any of my crafting. Instead I'd carrying all of the necessary supplies into the living room and sit on the couch. My table was just to unwelcoming.

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So, last night, after I finished work, I decided enough was enough and I tackled the problem head on. I tore into every nook and cranny. I took every item out of every basket, box and cup and I got real. "Will I ever find a use for six paper towel rolls? Will I even use one?" You get the picture.

I honestly didn't realize just how much stuff I had accumulated in our apartment. I have collected and collected and collected to the point where I have every single box from every single package I've received in the last year. It seems, somehow I thought that boxes were a necessary item to hoard. Boxes, bubble wrap, crape paper, packing peanuts, cellophane, you name it, I've got it!

So, as I started going through things, the mess only got worse... 

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But, I persisted. I was so totally determined to get through this project (mostly because now that I'm doing Project Life, I want a place where all of my paper, scissors, stickers and stamps can happily live on a permanent basis.) So, after three hours (from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. or from daylight to darkness) I slaved over my table. And, now that it's done, I'm happy to report I couldn't be more pleased with the results!

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That's right, you're looking at the opening spread in my Project Life binder! I'll show you more tomorrow.

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I think the best part of tackling my craft table is that now I know what I have and where each item is hiding. I honestly had no idea how many cool bits and pieces I had tucked away. I have a Ziplock bag just overflowing with amazing scraps that will be perfect for Project Life. It's also really great to be able to see the table and to see what I have. I honestly cannot wait to sit down and craft my little heart out this week. I have some finishing touches I want to do to some of my PL pages (I caught up! I did seven weeks worth this weekend.) and I want to give a simple sewing project a go. I'm thinking a t-shirt bag or something.

Yay for organization!!

Are you working on any craft or organizational projects right now?

Monday, February 18, 2013

The story of a snowman

I walk past this snowman every day on my way into town. He's been hanging out for weeks. I remember the day he was freshly built. He was made of perfect snowballs. Then, as time went on and the weather started to warm, I watched as his body began to melt and his head became a pancake. Some mornings I'd walk by and his eyes would be on his stomach or his carrot nose would be on the ground. But, by the time I walked home again, someone had lovingly put him back together. I watched this happen for weeks, and every time I walked by to see him whole again, I had to smile. This snowman was truly indomitable.

Then, one day, Ian and I were walking to a restaurant and I told him, "You'll get to see the snowman!" And, I shared with him the story. He loved it. He loved the impact that it had made on me and he loved the care that someone had clearly put into the snowman.

But, as we walked by that night, we came to find two snowballs, instead of three, and no eyes or nose or buttons. The caretakers of my beloved snowman had finally given up. I was so disappointed. But then, Ian being the silly good samaratan that he is, decided to make the snowman a new head. So, on our walk home, he grabbed some snow, packed it together and stealthily, he creeped onto the person's lawn and replaced the snowman's head. I had high hopes the next day I'd see the eyes, the nose and the buttons back, but they never did return, and as the weather continues to warm, the remainder of what was an amazing snowman is dwindling fast.

Although he's almost gone. I'm so glad he became a part of my daily routine. He always put a smile on my face, whether his eyes were dangling from his head or whether he was complete.

We had a fresh dump of snow this weekend, so maybe if I keep my fingers and toes crossed, whoever made the above snowman will make another, bringing me joy for another few weeks.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The things getting me through this day

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1. Coffee
2. Grooveshark's 80s station (I'm already sick of my 90s mix!)
3. Water
4. Zucchini pineapple bread
5. Knowing it's Friday
6. My cozy PJs
7. Knowing it's Friday (did I say that already!?)
8. Deep breaths
9. The Internet

I have a story due at 5 p.m. and NO ONE is returning my emails or phone calls. I'm feeling more than a touch anxious about that, so I need all of the above to get me through this day. Actually, what I need more than anything is for people to pick up their phones and spend 10 minutes talking to me about social justice issues. But, at the moment, that seems like too much to ask. So, I'm going to go on the hunt for new sources and I'm going to cross my fingers and toes that someone, anyone calls me back.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

LOTM: an outdoor date

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It's Valentine's Day, so the Ladies of the Mountains are sharing our favourite outdoor dates. Ian and I aren't into this Hallmark holiday devoted to chocolate, hearts and jewelry, so we won't be going on an extravagant date this evening (in fact, I'm going to a free self defense class tonight!!). But, the other day, we did go for a skate and curl at Pyramid Lake, which for us is pretty romantic. That is of course if you call goofing around and laughing our butts off romantic.

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Ian was a speed skater way back in the day, so he has a fairly good handle on skating. He can do it with his hands behind his back. He can do it one legged. He can spin around, and he can stop. In my books that's on par with the experts. You see, because, I, on the other hand, look like a baby deer learning to walk when I lace up. I'm wobbly and I'm constantly waving my hands around to stay on my feet. I'm sure it's amusing to watch, but, despite how completely silly I look, I really enjoy going for a quick spin on the lake. There is nothing quite like gliding around in the fresh air with beautiful mountains surrounding you. It's so peaceful. PLUS, Pyramid Lake has a loop-dee-loop-style ice surface, so it's fun to turn all the corners and go from one end to the next.

 photo IMG-20130203-00118_zps223bdc0c.jpg And, the other cool thing about Pyramid Lake is there's a small rink set aside for curling with wooden rocks. So, after our skate, we took to the curling rink for a few games of bocce-style curling. Ian won every time, but it was still a lot of fun.

I have to say, I love outdoor dates. It's so nice to do something that gets you out in the fresh air together. Whether it's skiing, hiking or skating, Ian and I always have a rad time full of laughs and silly moments.

Don't forget to check out what the other Ladies of the Mountains did on their outdoor dates!

Gentri of Gentri Lee
Lena of Musings
Michelle of On The Adventure
Meagan of The Egg Out West
Kelley of A Crooked Trail
And, guest blogger Chelsea of Sea, Field and Tribe

What are you doing for Valentine's Day? Are you going on an outdoor adventure?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I'm a Lifer

 I've been watching my pals (mostly Lisa and Kayla) embark on Project Life journeys for a few months now and every time they post one of their spreads I swoon and think, "I should really make my own binder full of everyday wonder." But, until Monday, that was as far as it went. Then Monday happened and Kayla posted her latest spreads and I was so inspired (and jealous that she has a tangible record of her life) that I immediately hit the Project Life website to see just how expensive it would be to join the herd of Lifers out there. Needless to say, $100 later and I too am a Lifer.

My Seafoam Binder and Turquoise Core Kit should arrive next week and I just cannot wait to dive right in. I'm going to take some tips from Lisa (who, although participates in PL, has some choice words to say about the whole thing) and get myself organized first. Lisa uses a notebook to record everything that's PL worthy throughout the week and she uses large envelopes to separate one week's goodies and photos from the next. I think both are brilliant ideas so I am stealing them from her and claiming them as my own. Thanks, pal!

Anyway, I've started a Project Life board on Pinterest, so check it out if you want to see what's inspiring me right now. And, expect to see some of my layouts and spreads in the near future! I plan on catching up on January so that I'll have a full year when I'm done. Oh! And, as I was typing this up, I decided that I'm going to make it my mission to avoid filtered photos in my book. I know I'll likely take a lot of my photos with my phone, so I'm writing this here so that I resist the urge to make each and every photo look vintage. Hold me to it, friends. I need the help!

Are there any Lifers out there? I'd love to hear some of your tips and tricks!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Quilt show

On Friday night, the museum in town had a quilt show. I have always, since I was young, dreamed of having my very own gorgeous handmade quilt, but I've never known a quilter, nor have I ever felt the urge to fork out a few hundred dollars on a blanket, so still to this day, I am quiltless.

The blue and white quilt in the background was made in 1894!

So, when I heard the quilters guild was putting on a show, I knew I had to go. I wanted to see what quilting was all about and I wanted to hear stories of how these gorgeous patchwork blankets were made. And, while I was wandering around the room, I met a member of the quilters guild who was kind enough to spend an hour explaining how each quilt was made. You see, I had no idea what it meant for a quilt to be machine pieced and machine quilted — I had to ask. And, after I did, I ended up learning so much.

And, now I'm inspired to give quilting a try!! So, at the beginning of next month I'm going to my first guild meeting to meet some of the ladies. I'm hoping that one of them will be kind enough to walk me through the process.

Have you ever made a quilt? Do you have any tips or resources that might help me as I embark on my quilting journey?

Monday, February 11, 2013

A snowshoe to remember

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Yesterday I went out for a FIVE-HOUR snowshoe on Wilcox Trail with my pals Mishelle and Dan. I must admit, there were moments as we climbed up steep hills covered in thigh-deep snow, that I wanted to say, "Screw it! My thighs are burning. My calves are burning. My breathing is erratic. Let's call it a day and go drink some beers." But, I'm happy to report it didn't come to that. Instead, I slogged through that snow and showed it who's boss, while, of course, mentally cursing the heavens. (In retrospect, I wish I had taken photos to show just how much we climbed and just how deep the snow was in parts. I guess I was just too busy focusing on my next step to even consider lifting my camera. "Left foot, right foot. Left foot, right foot. Left foot, right foot. KILL ME NOW!")

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It took three hours to reach our destination overlooking the Columbia Icefield. Three LONG hours. And, once we got there, the winds picked up giving us a wicked chill. But, it was all worth it for the view, the sense of accomplishment and for the opportunity to slide down some of the treacherous hills on our butts.

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Oh! And, on the way down, back to the land of the trees, we saw a bunch of big horned sheep and two cute ptarmigans. I haven't seen a ptarmi since my Yellowknife days, so that was a fun treat!

 photo DSC_0036_zps82839d04.jpg  photo DSC_0007-1_zpsad0d6632.jpg All in all, it was a pretty rad day. Plus, it was only -1 C! Who can complain about that at the beginning of February!? Not this girl. Now I'm just looking forward to cursing the heavens some more on our next adventure. Discussions are already in the works regarding where we should go next!!

Did you go on any fun outdoor adventures this weekend?