Thursday, February 27, 2014

February in photos

1. One night I came home after a LONG day and all I wanted was a creamy bowl of Kraft Dinner. But, as I was making it, I managed to destroy the cheese packet, sending orange powder flying around my kitchen, onto the stove and the floor and all over me. Ian felt the need to document the moment. This is what you get.

2. A couple of weeks ago we went for a road trip to Edmonton specifically to stock up at an Asian grocery store. On our adventure, we discovered Lucky 99, which is basically like an Asian super store! We walked out that place with bags and bags of fish sauce. Score.

3. I finally restocked on soap from The Hive Botanicals this month and I'm just loving the smell of the Wilderness Adventure soap. I leave the shower smelling outdoor fresh. Yum!

4. On Sunday night, while I was chilling out on the couch, my neighbour popped by with dessert: vanilla cupcakes with orange chocolate icing. Omnomnom!

5. While I was in Edmonton, I visited the lovely Lisa and we rocked out to some Papa Don't Preach. I love me some 80s Madonna, like whoa.

6. On treat yo'self day, I hit up the secondhand shop in town and found five new records, including a new Billy Joel album and the best of Bob Dylan 1 and 2!!

7. The month, although mostly sunny and warm, had a few cold snaps that sent me running for my parka and thickest accessories.

8. This mural was on a building across the street from our friend's place in Edmonton. I absolutely love the colours and the cityscape. So beautiful.

How did February treat you?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Help a sister out!

If you were given the opportunity to speak to a group of young girls about how to use social media in a positive and safe way, what would you say? I'm not asking out of pure curiousity. I'm actually asking because I need your help. You see, I've been asked to be the keynote speaker at a girls' empowerment conference in May, and they've asked that I talk to the girls about my approach to social media, whether that be for my job or my personal life or my blog.

So, I thought, who better to ask for advice than the social media experts out there. 
So tell me, ladies, what would you say? What advice would you give?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Two-year blanket

Two years ago I pulled out a ball of wool and a crochet hook with the intention of whipping up a blanket to bring to festivals. Well, two years later, it's finally finished. Now, to be fair, I didn't work on it on the regular. I probably finished a quarter of it and then put it down for a year, picked it up for another week and then put it down again and then finally I decided enough was enough and got it finished last night.

I'm so pleased with the outcome. The colours are so bright and cheerful and it's the perfect size for curling up on the couch for a cozy night in. Although I'd love to keep this beauty, I've decided to give it to my girlfriend who just moved into a new retro house that could totally use a crocheted granny blanket for its 70s couch. It only seems fair to fill the void. Plus, is there a better housewarming gift than a handmade blankie? I think not!

Have you ever crocheted a blanket?
Now that I've done one, I'm inspired to make another for myself. 
My couch could definitely use one, as well. Now the question is: what wool to use?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Project Life 2014

Well we're two months into 2014 and already my Project Life binder is a month behind. BUT, that's OK, because I have new and improved approach to this project that will ensure I am always a month behind. You see, I found myself getting discouraged last year because I wasn't able to get my photos printed regularly enough to keep up. So instead of stressing over it, I'm waiting until the end of each month to print all the photos for those spreads. Once they arrive in my mailbox, I spend a few evenings putting all of my spreads together for the month and then I, yet again, wait for the new month to end, so I can repeat the process.
So far this method is working for me and I'm hoping I'll keep it up all year.

Pictured above is my title page. It's still a work in progress, but I'm happy with the start. To finish it off, I plan on filling in a few details on the bottom right once the year is up and I also hope to take an awesome photo of Ian and I to replace the old one on the top right.

For my opening spread, I decided I wanted to share my intentions for the year. In January I doodled up a list of things I want to do and ways I want to live my life this year and I thought there was no better place to keep those intentions than in my binder. Originally, I had put my doodle in the book, but I didn't like how that turned out, so I grabbed some journaling cards for a do-over. I'm happy with the result and I hope that having my intentions in my book will keep me true to them all year long. The other side of the spread is the beginning of 2014. It talks about my goal to stay sober for 30 days and our New Year's Eve repeat party.

I have completed spreads up to the end of January and am getting ready to send in my order for February so I can get cracking on those spreads. I'll be sure to share some more in the near future, so you can see how everything is shaping up in 2014.

How's your binder coming along?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Project Life swap

Last month Lisa of the Not Ladylike variety organized a supply swap with a bunch of Project Lifers, and, of course, I jumped at the opportunity to not only put together a package of goodies for a fellow memory keeper, but to receive one myself.

Marci from Like a Small Fire put together the above parcel for me. (If you don't know that girl, you really need to head over to her blog—she's full of hilarity and adorable outfits.) When it arrived on Wednesday, I was super stoked to open my fancy stripped envelope and I was even more excited when I found a bunch of goodies that I otherwise would've never found! My favourite items were magazine clippings and homemade stickers. Marci also included some blank labels for me to turn into my very own stickers. Such a great idea!!

My swap partner was Elyse of Life Without Lemons. Above is one of the photos she took of her supply haul. I had so much fun going through my things and picking out the perfect items for her. It was even more exciting when she posted about it and gushed about being super happy with her new swag.

After the success of this swap, I definitely think another is in order. Maybe not this month or next, but definitely in the not-so-distant future. (Hint, hint, Lisa!!)

Thanks so much to Lisa for organizing the swap and to Marci for sending me such a wonderful package. This has been super-duper fun! (And, Marci, I got down to work last night and managed to use some of my new goodies. So, keep your eyes out for a PL post in the near future, you might just see some familiar accents making an appearance.)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What to Wear: pop of colour

I love colour. I love it so much that this outfit was nearly impossible to put together. You see, it's rare that I just have ONE pop of colour in an outfit. Usually I'm swimming in it. I love putting bright colours together, no matter the season or the weather, because I always feel like a million bucks when I look like a painters palette, just smeared with beautiful shades of reds, greens, blues, yellows and purples. But for this ol' outfit, I reined myself in and went with just one POP!

From head to toe:
Earrings: Etsy
Glasses: Firmoo
Cardigan: Value Village
Shirt: Value Village
Belt: Ardenes
Pants: Value Village
 Shoes: Value Village

So there you have it, a single pop of colour! Do you have an outfit that features such a pop? Why not link up with us then? We'd love to see what you're wearing. And if you can't make it this week, be sure to join us on March 6 when we post What to Wear: 100% thrifted. See you then!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Treat yo'self to Lego

On Feb. 7, for no apparent reason, Ian declared it "Treat Yo'Self Day." To start it off, he texted me while I was at work and asked if I would join him for lunch and a trip to the toy store to purchase Lego, and, of course, I said "HECK YES!" (Lego and deli sandwiches equal a very happy Nicole.) So, off we went. We ate our favourite sandwiches and then perused the Lego, debating back and forth over which kits to buy. Being the mountain adventurer that I am, I chose the Mountain Cabin Creator kit, while Ian picked one from the Lego movie. The day continued on with many more treats, including some new records from the secondhand shop in town and a delicious meal at one of my favourite restaurants in town. Oh! And it was also my second night of drinking since my 30-day sobriety. Yup, lots and lots of wonderful treats.

Because my life is so nutty busy, it wasn't until two days later that Ian and I sat down and Lego-ed it up. We spent the entire afternoon together, hanging out in the living room, listening to our new records and building our kits. I know this will sound crazy, but, this was my first ever kit. We had a boatload of Lego growing up, but we never received kits, so I have never built something from an instruction book. I gotta say, it was awesome! And I'm super stoked with my cabin, which, by the way, has an awesome fireplace and steer head mantlepiece.

Have you ever declared Treat Yo'Self Day? If not, I highly recommend it. And I definitely recommend you include Lego. It's the bomb!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Natural high!

I know, I know. I posted about ice climbing, like, just the other day. BUT! When I posted, I hadn't yet been triumphant. I had only made it 20 of the 30 metres up Tangle Falls. And now, after my latest adventure, I can report that I finally made it to the top. It wasn't easy getting there, no siree. I was a big ol' chicken-shit. I climbed halfway up, yet again, and then freaked myself out and psyched myself out and made myself believe I'd never make it to the top. But, before I could let that become a reality, my pal Melissa—who is uber afraid of heights—powered to the top and she came down beaming with achievement and pride. After seeing that and after receiving a few words of encouragement from her, off I went, straight to the FREAKING top!

Once there, I whipped out my phone for a selfie. But I wasn't quite composed enough to take one, as I was having a wee bit of a mental breakdown at just how high I was. Now, 30 metres might not sound that high, but when you consider that's 100 feet, you might change your tune. Yah. That's high, dude. HIGH!

Luckily for me, our guide for the day—Deryl—happened to climb up at the same time and surprise me at the top. So, as I was hyperventilating, his smiling face appeared and caught me in the act. Not embarrassing at all. Not one little bit. He claims he didn't notice. Isn't he a peach? Anyway, he took the above photo of me and then off I went, back down the falls.

When I reached the bottom, I was equally as triumphant as Melissa and all I wanted to do was hug EVERYONE! Yay. Seriously, it felt amazing to get there.

Two days later, I still feel it. Well, sort of—I feel the pain of the accomplishment. My shoulders scream with aches every time I raise my arms. It's worth it, though. I mean, I CLIMBED A FREAKING WATERFALL!

Friday, February 7, 2014

RIP Mr. Saw-Whet

When we arrived at work on Wednesday, we were met with a sad surprise: a dead Northern saw-whet owl outside our office door. Living in a national park, we knew we shouldn't just "dispose" of it, so instead we put him in a little box and I carted him over to my friend Elliot, who works for Parks Canada. After a quick flip through a bird book, he guessed that it was a pygmy and later confirmed it with a wildlife specialist.

Because Mr. Saw-Whet is in such good shape, Parks is now going to mount him for use in its interpretive programs. As Elliot said, I guess all isn't lost.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What to Wear: on Valentine's Day

Who cares what I'm wearing, check out my date's outfit—now that's something to talk about!

It's downright chilly here in Jasper. No exaggerating, it's the kind of cold that freezes your nostril hair—or, in the case of my date, causes your genitalia to disappear.

With these freezing temperatures rolling in, chances are I'll be spending Valentine's Day in a parka of some sort. This one is particularly lovely. I bought it at the church thrift shop in Jasper for $5—despite the fact that it's probably worth a couple hundred or more. It's made out of felt and has a fox fur hood. On days when the temperature dips below -30 C, I find myself reaching for this little beauty, along with a thick scarf and a crocheted headband to protect me from the cold.

Ian and I aren't into Valentine's Day—I won't bore you with the details, as I'm sure you've heard all the reasons before—so we're not planning an extravagant date or event to mark the occassion. BUT, I do have something amazing to look forward to that day.

I'll be spending it in the backcountry on the back of a snowmobile!!! The adventure is for both work and play and I CANNOT WAIT. I'll probably trade in the above parka for my Canada Goose to make sure I'm fully equipped for a day out in the elements. But, either way, I'll be wearing the same Sorel boots, with the addition of some Smart Wool socks, three layers of tights and a pair of snow pants.

Well, that's what I'll be wearing on Valentine's Day. Do you know what you'll be wearing? Why not link up with us, so we can check out your V-Day outfit? If you can't make it this time, join us Feb. 20 for What to Wear: pop of colour. See you then!

What's your Valentine's Day plan?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Snowshoeing up Bald Hills

When I woke up to my alarm on Sunday, I was dreading getting out of bed. Although I had been excitedly planning that day's snowshoe adventure for a week, on the morning of, I was anything but thrilled to be forced from my warm bed and out into the elements. But, knowing I couldn't let Mishelle down, I dragged myself from my cozy nest and threw on every imaginable layer in my wardrobe, preparing myself for a cold day trudging through the snow to the top of Bald Hills.

Bald Hills is a steep hike up to an amazing overlook of Maligne Lake. You start out climbing up a fire road and then find yourself above the treeline, making your way up to the summit. The second half of the adventure is definitely the most difficult, but the reward is the above view and the opportunity to slide down the treeless slopes on you butt. Awesome!

By the time we finished our five hour adventure, I was mighty frosty from heavily breathing all over my hair! I guess now I know what I'll look like when I'm old and grey!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Life in Pictures

1. So Famoso Pizzeria has this Twitter contest going where you put your ID behind a famous painting, take a photo and then tweet it, and Ian decided to take the contest to the next level by creating his own face hole...

2. My girl Katherine came to visit and, of course, while she was here, she was subjected to a year of my life in the form of my 2013 Project Life binder.

3. Ian and I LOVE Vietnamese food, but there is nowhere to get it in Jasper. So, rather than continuing to complain, we decided to make our own. Pictured are our homemade spring rolls, as well as vermaccelli noodles with lettuce, carrots, cucumber, chicken, peanuts and fish sauce. We did good!

4. A couple weekends ago, I found myself wearing inappropriate footwear while trudging through snow to see some fireworks. This led to my friends carrying me to a hard-packed spot in the snow. But, not before they could drop me and leave me stumbling around in laughter.

5. When Ian's not home my go-to meal is always a snack plate. This one was particularly delicious, between the orange and the brie cheese, it was absolutely delightful.

6. Before heading into an event to take photos a couple weeks ago, Ian and I tested out our lighting set up in a hallway in the community hall. I was fortunate enough to be the model and the light stand holder. Let's just say, between my facial expressions and the massive umbrella on a stand, we got some stares.

7. As you already know, Ian makes the most amazing pretzels. Here's more proof.

8. I finally made it up to the ski hill last weekend and lucked out with super warm weather. What a great way to start my ski season.

9. Two weeks ago, I went to see Stuart McLean for a taping of The Vinyl Cafe. It was a night that I'll never forget. He is truly the best storyteller in the world, and he's also a nice guy... and I can say that from experience! I MET HIM! Life made.

So that's what's up with me. What's up with you?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

One dry month: what I learned

Well, I did it! I made it 30 whole days without a drop of alcohol passing my wanting lips. Was it easy? For the most part, YES! But there were two evenings where I thought, man I really want to be where those people are: I want my hand around a sweating pint glasses; I want to fill my mouth with ice cold beer; I want to smell it and taste it and I want to feel its effects. But, I didn't smell it, taste it or feel it. Instead, on those evenings I went home early, curled up with a book and felt fabulous the next morning when I wasn't nursing a hangover. High-five, me!

Note: If you weren't around at the beginning of the month when I first posted about this resolution of sorts, check out this post to get caught up on my reasoning for participating in Dry January.

So here's what I learned from the experience:

1. I can still be fun when I'm not consuming alcohol... and I'm a better photographer when I'm sober, so for all those folks hanging out with me, I'm there to capture every moment for you! Yippee for photographic evidence.
2. Other people become super aware and awkward about their own drinking habits when you choose to drink soda water and they choose to drink wine. Don't worry, I'm not judging you!
3. The hardest thing is attending annual events that you've attended in the past and that you have amazing drunken memories from, but this year you're drinking a cranberry soda while your friends are drinking the beer you REALLY want to be drinking.
4. Cutting out booze, even for a month, results in a wee bit of weight loss and in turn your jeans become a little cozier.
5. Weekends without hangovers are AMAZING and they result in mega productivity and exciting outdoor adventures.
6. Having a go-to beverage to order makes things a heck of a lot easier when you're out with your pals.
7. Your bank account will sing your praises if you choose a cranberry soda over a beer!

Here's my future plan:

1. Make a conscious decision to drink—don't just drink because everyone else is.
2. Drink only when there is an event that warrants it, or when I'm sitting down for a nice meal that would benefit from one delicious beer or glass of wine.
3. Resist peer-pressure to drink when it's not an evening that warrants it.
4. Don't make a big deal out of these choices. Just live and drink with intention.

New motto: Think before you drink!

Have you ever been on the sobriety wagon? What'd you learn from the experience?
Have you found a happy medium?