Friday, May 31, 2013

A summer bucket list


I've been thinking a lot about my life lately and I've come to the conclusion that I am working far too hard and far too many hours. At this rate, I'll be run into the ground in a few more months. In other words, the life I'm living is not sustainable. So, I NEED to remedy this situation. Part of that is finding a way to finish my work in less hours. Another part is separating myself. I need to realize that I can't oversee everything. I can't do everything and I can't be responsible for everything. There is only so much I can do. And what I'm doing right now is just too darn much.

So, to motivate myself to change my ways, I've come up with a summer bucket list of things I won't be able to do unless I work less and live more. Here's what I've come up with so far:

1. Hike trails that make me swear and sweat and then jump up and down happily when I reach the end.
2. Try rock climbing and attempt to do it fearlessly.
3. Kayak down the Miette River.
4. Fish and actually catch a bloody fish this year.
5. Picnic it up.
6. Camp at least a few times.
7. See my brother and sister in Vancouver.
8. Raft down the Kootenay River in August.
9. Party it up at Edmonton Pride.
10. Drink mojitos.
11. Eat a tonne of homemade fish tacos.
12. Take wildlife photos.
13. Plant my garden and maintain it, so it's not the weediest one in the yard (like last year).
14. Swim in Lake Annette and Lake Edith.
15. Drive for no other reason than to enjoy the open road.
16. Dance my heart out to live music at the Legion.
17. Eat hangover brunch in the sun.
18. Read books on my patio.
19. Spend time alone.
20. And have lots and lots of house guests.

Now to just cut down on my work hours and get down to having some fun!

What are your plans for the summer?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

What to Wear: power outfit

I'm gonna be honest with all y'all. I'm not really someone who has a lot of power, nor do I demand it. I mean, I guess I have some power. I do control what stories are told in the paper, after all. But, when I think of someone in power, I don't think of an newspaper editor. I think of a highfaluting business person who wears a suit to work. So, I guess what I'm saying is, I don't really have a "power outfit." I just have the clothes that I deem work appropriate and respectable. Like this outfit, for instance.
It's no frills, but it's cute. I'm rocking a Peter Pan collar. I'm rocking some colour. I've got my skinnies on and my go-to boat shoes, so basically, I'm set for success. Amiright!?

From head to toe: 
Sunglasses: Ardene
Earrings: Etsy
Shirt: Bombshell (Jasper)
Cardigan: Joe Fresh
Pants: Ardene
Shoes: Ardene

Well folks, another What to Wear has come and gone and now we're onto the next outfit. In two weeks, on June 13, we'll be dressing for an ice cream date! Be sure to join us or at least pop in and see what outfits we put together.

Do you have a power outfit?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The bears are back in town

Video by my pal Richard.

All over my Facebook wall are videos and photos of amazing, ginormous bears. I love this time of year. It's the time when everywhere you go, your eyes are on the landscape for bears, goats, elk and deer. It's so fun to test your eyes and to watch wildlife go about their business. I grew up in a similar landscape, with plenty of wildlife around, but the charm still hasn't worn off. I'm as intrigued by these creatures today as I was as a child.

I especially love the above video. It's so amazing to see cubs, especially how nimble they are as they move up and down trees. They're just so darn cute. I hope to head out for some adventures this weekend so I can get my own photos and videos of these little guys. I could use the break from the office and the time out in nature. Plus, I need my wildlife fix. I've only seen one bear so far this season and he was way up on a hill. It's time to remedy this situation.

Have you ever seen a bear?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A buzzworthy visitor

The other day we found this cute little fellow all nuzzled into Ian's socks, which were tucked into his hikers and sitting on the deck. He was having a little nap there when we went out to do some grilling and of course I immediately had to grab my camera. It's not often you catch fuzzy little bees just chillin' out enjoying the sun, without buzzing around flowers or your ears. I think our excitement woke him, though, because before long he let out his arms and legs and started crawling around. He probably hung out with us for half an hour, though, just enjoying his cozy perch.

Although a bee isn't as exciting as a bear or a moose or an eagle even, it was neat to have one hanging out with us. It's like all the animals in this park are tame. Even the hummingbirds have being coming around our place in the last couple of weeks. There is a feeder hanging from the deck above us and they absolutely adore it. I want one of my own, but Ian thinks that would be rude to our neighbours, who had one first. Maybe I'll just have to befriend the man upstairs and ask to sit on his patio so I can take photos and enjoy the way the birds dart around from place to place.

Do you have hummingbirds where you are?

Monday, May 27, 2013

The view from here

I spend a good deal of my day looking out my office window, watching birds and trains, and in the summer months, silly tourists, who fail miserably in their attempts to parallel park. I don't know how I'd get by if I wasn't blessed with a view—if, say, I were stuck in a big city cubicle with fluorescent lighting, as opposed to sunlight.

At least with a window and a view, when the going gets tough, I can just look outside at the gorgeous mountains or at the chirping birds perched on the Subway sign beneath my window and I can snap back to reality. I can realize that no matter how stressful things get, I live in the most amazing place on earth—a place where you're more likely to hear a bird than a car horn and you're more likely to see a herd of elk than a taxi cab. Yup, the view from here is pretty swell.

What's the view like from where you are?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Help a brother out

This is so not my style, but desperate times call for desperate measures. You see, I have this pal who has been selected as the representative for Alberta (the province I live in) for a competition where he can win $100,000 toward his business. His idea is that he'll turn the basement of his liquor store into a state-of-the-art tasting room. It was that idea that grabbed the attention of a panel of judges, and now it's up the public to show him support through online votes. So far, he hasn't been fairing so well, so I wanted to give him a little helping hand. I'd love to see him succeed. It would be great for him and for Jasper. So, please, if you have a minute, throw some love to Marc LeBlanc. He's a rad dude with big dreams and I'd love to see those dreams come true.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Baby cuteness overload

As you all know, I'm going to be an auntie AGAIN. And as you know, I crochet. So, it only makes sense then that my crochet hook and I have been attached at the fingers for weeks, working away on adorable munchkin accessories and items. Seriously, I've been a machine, pumping out miniature everything! But, because I know my sister reads this (hi Kathy!), I can't show off all of my recent craft projects without ruining the surprise. Bummer, I know. So instead of showing you what I've made, I thought I would show you some of the most adorable baby projects I've come across since I found out my big sis is becoming a mama. Now, keep in mind the sex of the baby is still a mystery and will remain that way until he or she pops out in the fall, so some of these projects are ones I can't make until I know if I'm being blessed with a niece or a nephew.

Well, there you have it, your intake of cuteness for the day.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thoughtful advice

In the last couple of months, Ian's played this song a few times and every time I hear it, it stops me in my tracks. It literally stops me. I stop talking. I stop what I'm doing and I just listen. Not because it has a good melody. Not because the guy has a great voice—he doesn't really even sing, so that's definitely not it. It stops me because of its message. The words and ideas are so apt. They make you think. They give you pause. They make you smile. (They've even made me cry... how embarrassing!)

Anyway, take my advice and give it a listen. And take Baz's advice and "Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own."

"The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't."

Brilliant. No?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Are you ready to RUMMMMMMBLE!?

So this one time I went to a live wrestling match, and by this one time, I mean Saturday night. No joke, I spent my Saturday night watching men in spandex duke it out in Hulk Hogan fashion. And it was probably one of the most entertaining and ridiculous experiences of my life. I mean, it's not everyday that you get to boo someone in real life. Like, full out, BOO them. But that's what you get to do when you watch wrestling. They set it up so you know who the bad guy is (the one that doesn't high-five you) and you know who the good guy is (the one that high-fives you—seriously, it's that simple) and then you get to boo and cheer for each one. Amazing, right?

And on top of all that, you get to watch men pick each other up and throw each other around in the most over the top fashion. Who knew I'd be into that? I sure didn't expect to enjoy it quite so much. But oh, did I ever enjoy it! The only thing I didn't enjoy was how difficult it was to take photos. The lighting in the arena is always horrendous, but then they turned all the lights off and made it even worse. I had my ISO pumped to the max and still it was nearly impossible to get a good shot. I tell you, that's some kind of annoying... especially since I wasn't just taking photos for the blog. I was taking them for the paper, as well.

Oh! Did I forget to mention that there were girls wrestling, as well? Yeah... there were. In fact, there were three girls who all fought each other at the same time. It was some kind of intense... and equally as hilarious as the men. Although, I have to say, none of the men found themselves in such a compromising position as the ladies...

Have you ever been to a wrestling match?

Monday, May 20, 2013

"Don't play with your food"

Have you ever eaten a lobster? Like, the whole thing, straight from the shell? I hadn't until Friday night and I gotta say, not only is that beast delicious, it's freaking fun to eat. Juice squirts everywhere, all over you and your friends, and claws go flying in shoddy attempts to crack them. Basically, it's an all out mess... which, if we're being honest, has to be the best food experience in the world. You go your whole life being told not to play with your food and then you're handed a lobster and the tune changes. I mean, who can resist playing with these creatures? (When they're dead that is..  I don't know that I'd want this guy so close to my head if he wasn't already cooked.)

The only downside is the juice ends up all over you. Like, ALL over you. So you spend the rest of the evening smelling of a nasty fish market. I also made the mistake of leaving my rings on, so I had all kinds of lobster juice stuck under there, stinking up my hands something fierce. (Needless to say, I was a big hit at the bar later.) But even with the stinky aftermath, I would totally do it all over again just to savour the butter soaked lobster meat. Om nom nom.

Do you have any lobster crushing tips? I could use some if I'm ever going to do this again... as I may or may not have been the girl who had her claw go flying 10 feet from the table.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What to Wear: spring dresses

My dress decided to have a little love affair with that branch...
We're back! And this time we're showing you our spring dresses. When I got dressed for this prompt, I actually had a bit of a rough go. Although we've had some 25 C days in the last couple of weeks, this week has been cold and rainy. So, I had to layer up with a sweater and some nude tights, in an effort to stay warm in my spring dress.

My other challenge was picking a dress. I own quite a few, but none of them seem to be the perfect spring dress. I have the perfect spring skirt (make that skirts, plural), but my dress collection is more tailored to the fall. Weird, I know. Anyway, this is what I came up with. I bought this green dress at Army and Navy last year. I snagged it as soon as I laid my eyes on it. I just love the pattern.

From head to toe: 
Earrings: Etsy
Dress: Army and Navy
Sweater: Army and Navy
Tights: Walmart
Shoes: Walmart
Purse: Thrifted
Bracelet: Elysian Flowers (in Jasper)

Now this bracelet is my outfit's piece de resistance. I just bought it last weekend and I am in mad love. It's leather. It's a flower. It's colourful. I can put it on myself (yay for snaps!) and it's just downright perfect for spring and summer.

Well folks, that's it for this edition of What to Wear. Be sure to check in throughout the day to see the outfits that link up. I'm sure the ladies have some gorgeous spring dresses to show off. If you have one you'd like to show off, feel free to link up with us today. We'd love to see what you've got on. If you can't make it this week, but you want to join the What to Wear party in the future, be sure to link up with us on May 30 when we each show off our "power outfit." My wheels are already turning on this one! Hmmm... what to wear!?

Do you have a favourite spring dress?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

An ode to coffee

You open my eyes
Wake my senses
Clear my mind

You're my morning companion
My tasty treat
Your first sip, a bitter kiss
Your second, a warm embrace

I love you, dear coffee
With your rich, bold taste

Please be there for me
As I'll be there for you
For I need you this morning
And this afternoon, too

Have you had a cup of Joe today?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

On being a scaredy cat

Scaredy Squirrel
In my day, I've put myself in all kinds of uncomfortable, terrifying positions. I've been on airplanes alone. I've moved across the country alone (three times!). I've applied for school. I've gone to school. I've graduated from school. I've applied for jobs, interviewed for jobs, turned down jobs, accepted jobs, negotiated wages and I've said, "Forget it. I'm worth more than that." I've left boys behind. I've taken a boy with me (hi Ian!). I've jumped out of a tram car. I've ice climbed. And I've killed spiders. But even with all of those accomplishments under my belt, I still suffer from the occasional—twice daily—bout of fear. I am seriously scared of damn near everything. Half the time I'm scared to pick up the phone for an interview—and that's MY JOB! I'm scared to ask the tough questions. I'm scared of rejection. I'm scared to get on the back of a motorcycle or to trust myself enough to drive one. I'm scared of saying the wrong thing or publishing the wrong thing. I'm scared of burning bridges. I'm scared of trying new things. I'm scared of putting myself out there and I'm scared of accepting praise or recognition.

It's an interesting life, constantly living in fear and analyzing every little thing. Some days my fear holds me back while, other days, my fear of failure is enough to push me through everything else.

I assume I'm not the only person out there living in fear, either founded or unfounded. And I'm sure I'm not the only person who's constantly overcoming that fear. That's a part of life, I guess—getting scared and making decisions based on that fear. I just hope I never miss out on one of life's adventures because I was too scared to embrace it. I mean, what would my life have been if I hadn't hopped on a plane to London, Ontario to attend university? Or to Fredericton, New Brunswick for my first job, or to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories for my second job? Where would I be if I hadn't met Ian or if I hadn't moved to Jasper? I can honestly say I'm glad that I didn't have to find out.

What are you scared of?

Monday, May 13, 2013

European dreamin'

Fifteen-year-old me hanging out in Amsterdam. No big deal.
As I write this, my big brother and my dad are chilling out in Holland with all of my extended family... and right now, as I write this, I am JEALOUS. I can't deny it. I mean, of course, I'm totally stoked for them. This is, after all, my brother's first time in Europe and, in some cases, it's his first time meeting some of the fam jam. I, on the other hand, had the pleasure of going through all of those new experiences nearly 12 years ago when I was a wee little 15-year-old girl. But, even though I've done it all once before, I am still incredibly jealous of their adventure. I want to go back so badly, especially now that I'm an adult. My mom was pretty great when we were there, letting me go off to the "disco" with my older cousins—the two evenings I did that were my first ever bar experiences—but, still, I think it would be so amazing go back as a full-blown grown-up. I'd have more control over my money. I'd get to call the shots and see exactly what I want to see. I'd get to pick all the restaurants and places to stay. I'd get to fly by the seat of my pants and chill out a bit. Yeah, that all sounds pretty great.

So I guess what I'm saying is, I think it's time I start saving for my next European adventure.

Have you been to Europe as an adult?

Friday, May 10, 2013


Did you know when you look up "Friday" on YouTube, Rebecca Black's horrible, mind-numbing song is the first thing that pops up!? I didn't until just now and I gotta say, I'm slightly offended. How is Ice Cube's movie not on top of that list? How could it possibly be second to REBECCA BLACK. If I'm being honest, I'd rather see the definition of the word Friday before that song.

You see, when that gem of a tune hit the airwaves, I was working in a newsroom in Yellowknife. And one of my co-workers, who I adore most of the time, took it upon himself to sing Friday EVERY SINGLE WEEK. No joke. In fact, it didn't even have to be Friday. Some days he'd just sing it... for fun. Now, of course, he did this knowing the song is the worst piece of music ever written and he did it knowing that everyone in the office was going absolutely batty. For him it was entertaining. For the rest of us it was torture.

On a happier note, it's FRIDAY! Like, for reals. So enjoy it, pals. I hope you-all have a wicked-awesome weekend. Mine is stacked with fun! Tonight I'm going to a friend's housewarming party. Tomorrow I'm volunteering to help build trails in the park. Then I'm going swimming for the first time this season! Saturday night I'm going to dinner theatre. And Sunday I'm going hiking. Life is grand!

How's your weekend shaping up?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

LOTM: nature's treats

Since I can't go around picking up pine cones, leaves, flowers and rocks (newsflash, you get fined for that in a National Park!!), I decided to use today's prompt as an opportunity to show you photos of some of nature's most amazing underwater creatures. I mean, really, is there anything cooler than a jellyfish or a whale or a tortoise? Probably not. They're all pretty rad. Amiright!? Plus, I consider these photos little treasures from nature. Actually, I consider all of my nature and wildlife photos as treasures to behold. They are the best memories a girl could have. Who needs a rock when you have a wicked photo of a toad?

I took all of these photos at the Vancouver Aquarium last year. It was my first time being up close and personal with most of these creatures, and, let me tell you, I enjoyed EVERY minute of it. I could have spent a whole day wandering around in there. There was just so much to see. Plus, when do you get to see these guys? Not very often in my experience.

Have you enjoyed any of nature's treasures lately?

Gentri of Gentri Lee
Kelley of A Crooked Trail
Lena of Musings
Meagan of The Egg Out West
Michelle of On The Adventure
And guest blogger Faith of Twigs and Tea

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

That dude, Gratitude

Blue skies, wispy clouds, mountains, trees and rushing rivers—it doesn't get much better than this. 

Even after a hard day or a hard week or a hard month, all it takes is one day in nature to remind me why I'm working so hard. I love this community. I love this park and I love this life I live, even when it's stressful. Some days, when my stress levels are peaking at the point of a constant eye twitch, I forget there are people out there, living in cities, who have to travel hours just to have some peace and quiet, some clean air and some beautiful surroundings. When it finally dawns on me that all I have to do is step out my door, I realize just how blessed I am. Even on hard days I get to walk home staring at Whistlers Mountain, or look out my office window at trains and mountains and trees.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is I'm grateful I've been given the opportunity to live in such a beautiful place.

What are you feeling grateful for today?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Potted prickly pals

Ian is a huge lover of plants. Like, honestly he has mad love for them. I, on the other hand, hate things that depends on me for life. I'm sure I've mentioned this on the blog before, but I basically avoid animals, plants, children, old people, the works, because I don't want to be responsible for their well being. So, yeah, plants are out. They're just too much damn responsibility. Watering, ensuring sunlight, ugh. I quit.

But, then something happened. A couple of weeks ago, we saw a bunch of AMAZING cacti and succulents waiting to die at one of our local grocery stores. It appeared no one had even touched them. They were the undesirables. So, I brought four home for Ian, knowing he'd go bizerk. And then, before I knew it, the plant-lover bought 10 more and my house was overrun with these prickly little things.

On Sunday, we finally moved them out of their tiny little homes into some colourful pots. That's where my contribution ends. From here on out, they are Ian's responsibility. I will gladly look at them and enjoy their presence in our home, but there will be absolutely no love or water coming from these hands. Knowing my luck, I'd drown them anyway.

Are you a plant person?

Monday, May 6, 2013

It's fishing season!!

On Saturday Ian, my friend Mishelle and I went out for our first fishing adventure of the season, and in true Ian and Nicole fashion, we didn't catch a thing. In fact, we didn't even get a nibble. I don't know what's wrong with us, but the entire fishing season last year, we only caught a few fish and they were all well undersized. This was never an issue in Yellowknife. Our line would hit the lake and suddenly we'd be reeling in the big one. But here in Jasper the fish are far too smart for us. They're illusive little creatures, I tell you!

The bighorn sheep, on the other hand, they're everywhere. A group of them were literally about 10 feet from some tourists while we were out on the river. It was interesting to watch the couple just sit in their lawn chairs enjoying the nice warm weather, while right behind them six sheep munched on the trees and grass.

I love those calm close encounters. (Not like the encounter we had last year while we were fishing!) If I were a true photographer, I would take advantage of them and get right up close and personal, but I can't bring myself to disturb the wildlife (because it's illegal and because I'm far too nice).

Have you had any wildlife encounters lately?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Bob on a Friday

Folks, I'm tapped out today. Please enjoy this song in lieu of my usual post. I'll be back and full of energy soon, I promise.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

What to Wear: for a casual coffee date

I love me some coffee, especially when it's served out in the wilderness. But, since it's too cold for camping, I decided to set up my very own outdoor coffee shop. I figure wilderness equals casual, right?

Outdoor or indoor, this is something I might throw on for a casual coffee date. The top and cardigan are Value Village finds. I adore them both, so much. The pattern on the top is perfection, and the cardigan is the perfect pop of colour with some of my otherwise monochrome outfits.

Head to toe:
Top: Value Village
Cardigan: Value Village
Jeans: American Eagle
Shoes: Ardenes

If you'd like to link up your own casual coffee date outfit, I'd love to see what you put together. Or, if you want to join What to Wear in the future, we'll be back again on May 16, showing off our favourite spring dresses. (I hope it's warm enough to actually wear one by then!!)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

At this time last year: April

This is the one year anniversary of "at this time last year" and I couldn't be more excited that I can now look two years back. This is honestly one of my favourite features on the ol' blog. I just love seeing what I've done in a year's time. I mean, at this time last year I was a reporter for the Fitzhugh and now I'm the editor. And at that time, I was just beginning to take my blog seriously and now I can't go a weekday without posting. Plus, now I have all of you loyal readers and friends, which I most definitely didn't have a year ago. (Thanks for sticking around, pals!)

So, anyway, here's to another year of monthly reminiscing, career progression and friend-building.

Last spring, I went on a big crafting kick and made a ton of earrings like the ones pictured above. I'll admit, I don't wear any of them now, but they were fun to make at the time.

Ian and I were in the thick of our homemade pretzel obsession last April. These days we don't make them nearly as often, but when we do, they are equally as mouthwatering and delicious as the first few batches.

Last Easter, we went to Vancouver to visit my big brother, Dirk. While we were there, we went to a Giraffe Aftermath concert that was totally amazing and we also spent some quality time with some of Ian's bros from Yellowknife. I haven't seen much of my brother since then, so a visit is definitely in order sometime in the near future; hopefully while the cherry blossoms are still on the trees!

Near the end of the month, the weather finally warmed up enough to wear dresses, tights and cardigans. That's a lot more than I can say about this April. We've had snow the last few days!! Can you believe that!? Snow at the end of April. Bah! I'm not a happy spring chicken right now, let me tell you.

On a day when I was feeling down and out, I wrote this list of things I love, and looking at it a year later, I realize I still get the same happiness out of each and every item.

We were already fishing at this time last year!! In fact, our first fishing and picnic adventure was on April 30. I wish the weather would smarten up so we could get out there again. I'm dying for a relaxing day next to a lake or river. In fact, that sounds like perfection right now. Maybe if the weather cooperates, I'll propose a fishing trip for the weekend. Spring, get here faster!!

Well folks, that's what I was up to last April.
Do you remember what you were doing?