Saturday, June 29, 2013

At this time last year: June


At this time last year, I wrote my very first "Things I don't understand" post and because of my rant about video games, I ended up making a really great blog pal—not because she agreed with me, but rather because she vehemently disagreed. It seems to me there's no better way to start a friendship than with a debate. At least it worked out for us, anyway. Since that post there have been a number of other editions of "Things I don't understand" and they seem to all be my most commented on posts. Maybe I'll have to throw one into the mix again sometime soon.


This was also the time when my very first garden started sprouting and growing. My favourite thing out of the garden last year was our broccoli. We bought potted plants and they provided us with so many delicious salads. We didn't plant any this year, mostly because we were totally disorganized and didn't get around to planting until way too late. So instead we're looking forward to radishes, green onions, potatoes, spinach and carrots. I'm sure that will do.


Probably the most exciting part of the month was my glasses finally came. Wow! That means I've officially be a four-eyes for a year. Crazy! I still love my glasses as much today as I did when they arrived in the mail last year. I think they're absolute perfection—although I will admit I'd love to be like so many other bloggers out there with a whole collection of glasses to choose from each day. Maybe one day.


June was also the month that Ian, my friend Cynthia and I went to Banff for Music in the Park—an outdoor concert on the RAINIEST day possible. We were literally in ponchos sitting on a foamy with umbrellas over our heads the entire show. We saw Dan Mangan, though, so that was totally worth. And, as you can see, when the rain cleared up, Ian and I also recreated American Gothic at the cabin we stayed in. Epic, right?


And on the same trip, we also impersonated RCMP officers. I'd say this is a fairly accurate depiction, wouldn't you?

And of course no month would be complete without an outfit post. So here's What to Wear to a BBQ. I broke the apple necklace pictured here awhile back. I think I'll have to dig out the pieces and glue it back together. It's far to cute to let it go to waste in the bottom of my purse.

What were you up to at this time last year? 

Oh! Don't forget, Google Reader is on the outs. If you want to keep up with Gypsy in Jasper, make the switch to Bloglovin or another reader today!

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Friday, June 28, 2013

And the winner is...


The not to 'shabby' giveaway came to a close last night and the winner is... drum roll, please! Elizabeth Elliot. Huge congrats to you, m'lady. I hope you find something completely adorable to buy with your $50 gift card. Be sure to show it off when it arrives!

Glampin' it up in Jasper

For the first time in my life, I went glamping this week. What's glamping, you ask? It's camping for high maintenance folk who don't like to get their hands dirty. Actually, according to Urban Dictionary, it's glamorous camping (as if you couldn't figure that out on your own) or luxury camping. My glamping experience was in a tent-style cabin at Whistlers Campground just outside of town. Now, if it wasn't for an assignment, I'd be slightly ashamed. I'm not one of those girls who needs a lot of frills. In fact, I'm more of a get down and dirty kind of camper, so I'm not used to showing up at a campground with everything set up and awaiting my arrival. I literally did nothing. There was no pitching a tent and I barely even had to set up my bed. Basically I just took out my sleeping bag and pillow and voila, I was done!

I was admittedly shocked when I opened the door and saw all the space I had for just me. Oh yeah, did I mention I went solo? I guess not. At first I invited a couple of girlfriends, but they had to work, so then I decided, 'What the heck? I could totally use an evening to myself.' So after work I drove out to the campground with all of my gear in the back of the car and I spent the evening chillaxing in my own company.


Of course, I first brought out the tripod and camera for some photos. Then I went for a walk around the campground before making a fire and reading my book for the rest of the evening. It was honestly exactly what I needed to reset my batteries.

So remember how I said I would have been ashamed had my stay in this luxurious cabin not been for work. Well, that shame eventually wore off. On most days, I wouldn't trade a cabin for pitching a tent, but staying in Parks Canada's oTENTik (that's the official name!) was a nice way of winding down for an evening. I honestly went to work on Wednesday feeling incredibly refreshed.

Check out the bench I built. I'm the best!

So, all in all, glamping's not so bad. I know there's a lot of haters out there. But I honestly believe these cabins provide a service that tents can't. They allow people who otherwise don't have any wilderness skills to experience it safely, and they also allow foreigners who don't want to pack all of their camping gear for an overseas journey to still spend time in nature, rather than booking a hotel or an RV. So I guess you could call me a convert.

Have you ever been glamping?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

LOTM: BBQ recipes


Are you shaking your head, thinking 'What the heck, Nicole? You already posted today! What are you doing spamming my feed with MORE Gypsy in Jasper!?'

Please let me explain before you run off in frustration. You see, the Ladies of the Mountains schedule got a little wonky awhile back so now we're on the same days as What to Wear, so rather than choosing one or the other, I've chosen to do both! I hope you enjoy this double whammy today, and if not, feel free to berate me in the comments. Anyway, back to the purpose of this post. This week we're talking about our favourite BBQ or camping recipes. For me, it's definitely a delicious homemade burger. There is honestly nothing better than a big thick patty full of garlic and onion thrown on the grill. Om nom nom!



As the lady who generally steers clear of actually cooking on the grill, either on the patio or the fire pit, I can't give many pointers. All I can say is the more garlic and onion the better and NEVER skimp on the cheese. Oh! And be adventurous with cheese. Burgers with brie are my FAVOURITE thing in the world. I also dig guacemole and grilled red peppers as additions. And lots of pickles. Oh, and it doesn't hurt if it's all topped off with homemade Big Mac sauce (mayo, thousand island dressing, relish, paprika and garlic powder). YUM! Basically, GO NUTS and be creative. There is nothing worse than going to a backyard BBQ or out camping and eating those cardboard-style store bought burgers with nothing but ketchup and mustard. A burger needs to be juicy and full of extra toppings that run down your hands as you eat it. It's summer, after all—you'll work those extra calories off while you're hiking, biking, camping and exploring. There's no reason to hold back. Indulge!

Check out what the other Ladies of the Mountains 
chose for their favourite BBQ and camping recipes:

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 Twiggy of The Dirt Life


Tomorrow's the last day to enter the not too 'shabby' giveaway.
There's a $50 Shabby Apple gift card up for grabs. 

What to Wear: while crafting



What to Wear is back and this week we're showing off the outfits we wear while our hands are busy creating. I'm a pretty relaxed kind of lady when I have my crochet hook, pen or scissors in hand, so this outfit works perfectly for such an evening. In this case, I was doodling in my new Batman-esque notebook. I had some yarn nearby as well, just in case I found myself inspired to hook it up.

 From head to toe:
Necklace: a giveaway win!
Tank top: Ardenes
Sweater: Walmart
Jeans: American Eagle
Shoes: Winners



If you all hadn't noticed, I am a huge cardigan fan, but the truth is, I often have a hard time finding ones that fit. They're either way too long (because I have a short torso) or the arms are too long or they hug the wrong places. It's a pain in the butt. So, when I find a cardigan that fits, I buy multiples. In the case of the above Walmart cardi, I bought two in different colours. They've both been getting a lot of wear around these parts lately. They're the perfect weight for our finicky spring weather.

Well that's it for me today, folks. If you'd like to link up your own crafty outfit, please feel free to join in. Otherwise, next time we'll be dressing for What to Wear while wine tasting. Feel free to pop in with your own wine tasting outfit on July 11.

What's your go-to crafting outfit? 

Tomorrow's the last day to enter the not too 'shabby' giveaway.
There's a $50 Shabby Apple gift card up for grabs. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Photo essay: how to get mauled by a bear

Step 1: Ignore all warnings posted on the highway.

Step 2: Park in the middle of the road, rather than pulling off to the side. (Oh wait, that's how you get mauled by an angry Nicole.)

Step 3: Get out of your vehicle.

Step 4: Ignore a nice local (me) when they suggest you get back in your car.

Step 5: Approach the bear.

Step 6: Put nothing between you and a mother who's feeding with her cub.

Step 7: Get even closer for that perfect shot.

Step 8: Turn your back on the animal and tell your kids to get out of the car and check out the fun "toy" eating dandelions.

Step 9: Congratulations, you have successfully become bear food.


I don't think I'll ever get used to seeing tourists act this way. They are so oblivious to the danger they're placing themselves in and the nuisance they are creating for the animals they see. There are so many signs and brochures around the park explaining how to respectfully observe animals. It's inexcusable that people act this way. I don't care what country you're from, you should know better. If you're going to visit a Canadian national park, you should at least do some research to ensure you know how to respect wildlife and nature while you're here. Can you imagine what would happen if someone actually got mauled? It would likely result in the death of that animal.


So in the future, if you want to view wildlife in Jasper, please stay in your vehicle or do it like this guy—pull over to the side of the road, put a vehicle between you and the animal, silently take a few photos and then move along—because the last thing I want to do is get called out to the scene of a mauling. Can you imagine taking photos of that for the paper? Ick!

Don't forget to check out the not too 'shabby' giveaway.
There's a $50 Shabby Apple gift card up for grabs. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wicked weather witch

So I'm standing on the top of a mountain Sunday and then all of a sudden Mother Nature threw a temper tantrum and started screaming her thunderous scream, while shooting bolts of light from her eyes. For about an hour, it was absolute madness. She wouldn't calm down. Even when I spoke soothing words and sang a little tune, she continued to grunt and groan. She even spat on me. What a stubborn witch of a woman she can be sometimes. I tell you, if she hadn't been all sunshine and roses for the rest of the weekend, I would have given her a piece of my mind.



Photos taken at the top of Whistlers Mountain on June 23.

Have you ever found yourself on the top of a mountain during a sudden storm?

Don't forget to check out the not too 'shabby' giveaway.
There's a $50 Shabby Apple gift card up for grabs. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Bro-ing out with a sister blogger

Before I begin, can we please all take a moment to bask in the golden glory of Lisa's fresh-from-Mexico legs? Take them in, won't you? They're freakin' spectacular.

In other news, as you can see, my girl Lisa from NotLadylike was here for some quality bro time this weekend. It was her first time making a trip out to Jasper to visit me (usually I head to Edmonton because that's where the Value Villages are), so we made sure to do it up right. We went to Maligne Lake, Maligne Canyon and Mount Edith Cavell. We drank moijitos with fresh mint from my garden. We made fun of dumb tourists who didn't know what to do when they encountered wildlife. (No joke, people parked without even pulling off to the side of the road and got out of their vehicles to approach bears. Not just any bears, either—mother bears with cubs. Ah tourists. So brilliant!) We stayed up until 3:30 a.m. eating cold pizza and talking on the floor. Oh and this happened:


Yup, all in all, we had a pretty great visit. It's just too bad that it was only a couple of days. There's so much more to see and do in Jasper and I'm sure there was plenty more girl talk to be had as well. I guess that will have to wait until next time. How was your weekend? Did you have any visitors?

Just a wee reminder that there's a $50 Shabby Apple gift card up for grabs on the ol' blog.
So, don't forget to check out the not too 'shabby' giveaway and enter to win.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

"Now a selfie lookin' cute, in the same room where I poooooop."

I hope you've all seen this already, but if you haven't, you're welcome in advance. This is seriously my favourite thing on the internet right now. I laughed so hard that everyone in my office came over to my desk to find out what the hell was going on. It's just so spot on. It targets everything I hate about Instagram and everything I use Instagram for. So basically, while watching it I cringe in embarrassment, while also laughing at those folks who pose for selfies in the mirror or take a bajillion photos of their coffee art.

So, what are you waiting for? Watch the video and laugh your face off already!!



Honestly, this provides me with endless entertainment. I could watch it on repeat. Happy Saturday all.

What's making you giggle these days?

Don't forget I have a giveaway going on right now. 
Enter for a chance to win a $50 gift card for Shabby Apple.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A not too 'shabby' giveaway: $50!



As I prepared to write this post, Anthony Kiedis' voice popped in my head singing "Give it away. Give it away. Give it away now" and then of course, I had to detour off to You Tube to watch the video. It had been far too long since I last saw him shirtless. Ow ow ow!

Anyway, as you can probably gather, I've got a wee giveaway going on here at Gypsy in Jasper today. I know, I know. You might be thinking, "Nicole's doing a giveaway? I thought she was all, what up with giveaways!?" Well, here's the deal, Shabby Apple is rad. They sell retro and vintage inspired dresses that are super duper cute and they're offering $50 to one of my readers, AND to top it all off, there really aren't many strings attached. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram and you get a chance at $50 to spend on something pretty and fun.

So what are you waiting for? Hit up the Rafflecopter for your chance at a new frilly frock.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The camera bag of all camera bags


If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you've already relished in the beauty that is my new camera bag. If not, well, check it out! Isn't she a beaut? I'm so smitten. I honestly couldn't be happier. She boasts all the room a small town newspaper editor could need. I have room for my camera and a couple of lenses. I have room for my notebook and usual purse items, like my wallet, glasses case and cellphone AND I have the pleasure of strolling around with this gorgeous piece of craftsmanship dangling at my hip. PERFECTION!

The best part about this bag of all bags, though, is it's ACTUALLY a camera bag. It's not a purse that I just throw my camera into willy-nilly. There's foam padding inside that protects all my gear. Love it! Until this little gem arrived in my mailbox a week ago, I had been carrying around a purse and a small over the shoulder camera bag. It was OK, but it was also a bit of a pain. My shoulders looked totally cluttered with stuff. I feel so much more streamlined and ready to go with one bag for ALL my things. Yay for simplicity.

Did a camera bag change your life?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What we wore


Friday was Ian's birthday, so I asked his best friend Maarty to snap a photo of us to send off to his parents. (Hi Kathi and Mike!) But, of course, Ian being the creative type he is, he couldn't let it be just any photo. So, we ran outside and lied down in the grass while Maarty attempted to articulate Ian's vision by leaning over the balcony to take photos.

As you saw yesterday, we spent Friday night at the Straight to Diva event. The above outfits are what we wore. I bought my dress at Value Village in Kelowna two years ago. Ian actually picked it out. I don't wear it often, but when I do I feel fabulous in it. I love the colour blocking. I love the mod look and I adore pair it with fun cardigans and tights. The cardigan is also a Value Village find, although I found it in Edmonton. And the tights are from the Value Village Halloween collection. The shoes and necklace are the only part of the outfit that aren't thrifted. I bought the necklace from Etsy and the shoes from Walmart.

Ian's wearing a thrifted shirt, pants from Winners and birthday socks from me (aren't they rad?). Ian has just recently entered into the world of coloured pants. Before last weekend, he owned the same pair of jeans in three or four different shades of denim and black, so this is a big change.

I really love how our outfits play off each other. We're such a colourful duo. And I also love how this photo turned out. We don't have too many together, as either one of us is usually behind the camera, so it's exciting to have a nice one—especially one where we're both smiling.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Straight to Diva


Have you ever wondered what a straight man would look like in drag? Well, wonder no longer. I have photos and stories to fill those wondering minds. On Friday night, Out Jasper held an event called Straight to Diva, where four men were transformed from the scruffy, manly men they are into feminine drag queens. The transformations were done by four hair salons, who were competing to have the most believable and talented queen. Let me tell you, the competition was FIERCE. These guys and their stylists took the task to heart and gave it their all. Each of them was sporting ridiculous high heels—heels I wouldn't even attempt to walk in. They danced. They wore layers upon layers of concealer. (ICK!) They lip synced and made all around fools of themselves. It was literally the best thing ever!



This is Corey. He lip synced to Queen's bicycle, among other songs, and his wife came out dressed as Eminem and lip synced alongside him. It was a sight to see! I was laughing so hard that I had tears running down my face... and with all that water in my eyes, I couldn't tell if any of my photos were even remotely in focus. (I attribute the out of focus photos to the moments where my whole body was shaking with laughter.)


This is Danny. He's the frontman in an Irish punk band called Some Irish Pirates. He sang Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It." It was out of this world. He had the showmanship aspect of the competition down pat. Plus, who doesn't love a bright blue wig?!



This is Paul. I think he was the most believable woman. I mean, look at that bod and that makeup. Hubba hubba. He also had some killer dance moves. He could twist right down to the floor, even in huge heels. Huge props for that!



And finally, this is Jeff, or as he's more commonly known, Smitty. He was the big winner of the night. His dance moves weren't quite as graceful as the Paul's or Danny's, but he had a certain je ne sais quoi about him that ultimately saw him take the title as the best diva.

I bet you wouldn't be surprised to hear the bar was SLAMMED with people for this event. It was so busy that I was literally stuck sitting on the floor right in front of the stage area, just so I could get some photos. I cannot wait for next year. I see this event becoming a staple in the year. It was so incredibly fun and hilarious. My expectations were blown out of the water. The guys were such good sports. Not only did they allow themselves to be made up, they took on their roles with a ton of enthusiasm. (Or, at least they drank enough to get themselves there!!)

Does your LGBT community do any cool events where you are?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Where glaciers fall



Last year, 70 per cent of Ghost Glacier fell from the side of Mount Edith Cavell. They estimate 70 per cent equates to between 100,000 cubic metres and 200,000 cubic metres of ice. That ice, which fell in a number of large chunks, landed in a glacial tarn (lake) at the foot of the mountain. The ice fall happened in August when the tarn was at its highest water levels, so the impact of the ice hitting the water created a huge air blast, wave and flood. Luckily, the event happened around 5 a.m. because had it been a few hours later, hundreds of people could have died, as Edith Cavell is one of the most popular areas of the park.

Because of the fall, the damage done and the unknown risk of further incidents, the area was closed to visitors, while Parks Canada had a geotechnical study completed. That study is now complete and Cavell is again open to the public.  So, I went up with a representative from Parks Canada Friday morning, before it opened, to see how the ice fall had changed the landscape. But the weather wasn't ideal, so my friends and I went back on Saturday to take a better look around and to get some better photos. Here for you are just a few of the shots I took during our adventure.





I just love how raw the landscape looks. The chunks of ice. The moraines. The remaining glaciers. The tarn. The mountain. As we wandered around, weaving between pieces of ice taller than me, I started to feel like I was walking on Krypton. It was pretty surreal and completely amazing.

Friday, June 14, 2013

From dumpster to patio perfect

Ian brought a rickety, peeling, piece of junk table home from the dumpster the other day, in hopes I'd clean it up for our patio. And how could I say no? I mean, who doesn't want an excuse to pull out the ol' palm sander and get covered in sawdust? If you ask me, any excuse to bust out a power tool is one worth taking.


So I spent a Saturday morning and early afternoon sanding, priming and painting in the sunshine, with some 90s alternative rock blasting through the window. Bliss? I think so! The weather was warm. The view was great. The music was perfectly awful and I had the time to spare.


My favourite part of refinishing furniture is when you get to move from primer to COLOUR. And wait until you see the RAD colour I chose. It's seriously out of this world amazeballs. In fact, it's my favourite colour of all time. I even have a parka in the same shade. No joke!


So there you have it, our new patio table. I'm so happy with how it turned out. Although, I will admit, I've been debating painting a frog face on the top, or something ridiculous and fun to fa-bam it up a little more. If I take the plunge, I'll keep you posted.

Have you ever refinished a piece of furniture? How'd it work out for you?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

What to Wear: on an ice cream date



It's What to Wear time and this week we're dressing for an ice cream date. I had every intention of going on a real date with Ian for this photoshoot, but the cards didn't fall into place, so I quickly took a few photos last night. I realized after the fact that had I worn a white tank top, I could have been neapolitan ice cream. Yum! (I'm definitely doing that next time I throw this outfit on.)

I just bought this top while we were in Edmonton. I wasn't sure about it at first, but I'm actually really loving it now. I've decided a tied top is pretty darn cute. As are polka dots!

From top to bottom:
Sweater: Army and Navy
Shirt: Winners
Tank top: Bluenotes
Pants: American Eagle



I picked this outfit for an ice cream date because it's cute and put together (in my humble opinion), but it's also casual. I can definitely see myself wearing this while walking around town with a delicious ice cream cone filled with mint chocolate chip ice cream. (Oh man! I might need to fulfill the craving today. That just sounds far too good.)

What would you wear for an ice cream date?