Thanks

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Thanks4I love(d) Thanksgiving. This year was a bit unorthodox since my family didn’t plan a big feast for Turkey Day, regardless I still ended up stuffing my face and spending time with the people I love. I even made some Thanksgiving themed crafts (something I haven’t done since elementary school). It was wonderful.

My list of what I’m thankful for grows every year, but this year I’ve felt exceptionally blessed with the opportunities I’ve been given and the people I get to spend my time with. Everyone around me inspires me in their own special ways and I’m lucky to have the friends and family that I do. So thank you all for being  you, it means a lot to me!

 

Happy Anniversary

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Last weekend Neal and I celebrated our two year anniversary (awwww) with a laid back weekend at my cabin. It was perfect. We played games, watched movies, sat by the lake and philosophized, and made some amazing food.

This monumental was a bit of a departure from the way we’ve celebrated in the past. For one the weekend didn’t include getting dressed up and spending hundreds of dollars on a fancy dinner, and thank god because that’s just not in my budget at the moment.

We also planned the weekend together so there were no surprises, other than my surprise at how much I enjoyed not being surprised (clear as mud?). The weekend was all about getting away from reality and spending two whole days together without any distractions.

The weather was amazing so we spent most of Saturday outside. We dug the Bocce ball set out of the shed and hauled it down to the park. We played head to head for hours and made a loop from the park down to the beach, and back.

We kept the competition going all night in various forms. It started with me demanding we do a puzzle, to playing Yahtzee, to Monkeys in a barrel. Game night ended abruptly when we tried to play a 2am round of Scrabble and started arguing about the validity of each others words (for some reason we had forbid use of the dictionary during the game).

In the midst of all the gaming we barbequed some amazing shish kebobs and lemon potatoes, the recipes for both of which I will share in a later post.

On Sunday we slept in and successfully lounged all day, making our way through 3 of 5 Star Wars movies. It was bliss.

I’m pretty thankful for the guy I got to spend so much time with. And after 2 years together, life is only getting better!

Folk Fest ’13

Festival festival2 campground Tentcity barn Barn2 lounging homeward BikerideMy very first Winnipeg Folk Festival was a blur of music, laughter, and naked dancing. In the twenty-three years since then not much has changed, except for the attendance (and maybe the naked part).

This year was the Festival’s 40th anniversary, and the first time I’ve noticed a marked expansion in the size of the weekend’s operations. I got a little choked up walking onto the grounds this year as I was met with a giant food area and a sprawling beer tent instead of the intimate stages that previously lined the trees. It was startling at first, but I eventually came to terms with the fact that the festival’s numbers have ballooned in recent years, making it necessary for them to cater to every kind of folkie. Sadly the days of topless hippies and naked babies might be over.

To celebrate 40 years the festival pulled in some larger main stage acts such as The Avett Brothers, Serena Ryder, and City and Colour. As well as bringing back fan favourites like Cat Empire and Xavier Rudd. Unfortunately I didn’t check out that many new bands this year because I was having too much fun back at the campsite!

For years my boyfriend and his friends have been blessed with one of the most coveted campsites of the campground. Dubbed “Shady Glen,” it’s a beautiful spot in the trees with room for lots of friends (this year it was close to 30 people), a fire pit, as well as several hammocks. I’m a total piggy-backer, but I’m proud to say I help cinch the spot this year by getting up early on Wednesday and biking out to Birds Hill Park. The bike ride itself was an adventure as I ran into a pole and went over my handle bars early on, then because of  route confusion we ended up leading the pack for the latter part of the ride. After all those flukes I still feel like we deserved our spot and the eight am mimosas we celebrated with.

I feel like I say this every year, but this past folk fest was one of the best. The company was wonderful, the jokes were hysterical, and the party was continuos. It was a whirlwind of sing-alongs, campground wandering, early morning soccer games, yoshi costumes, pepto bismal, big games, glowsticks and music. I couldn’t have asked for more.

Like every other year, the weekend was over before I knew it. The week following the festival is always an uncomfortable attempt at showering off the weekend’s grime and re-emerging into the real world. Thank god there’s only 328 days until next year.

New York City

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Within eight hours our trip had taken us from the rolling hills of Pennsylvania to the angular landscape of Manhattan Island. We drove into New Jersey intending to park the car and hop on a train to our hotel in Hell’s Kitchen, unfortunately our great intentions turned into minor frustrations when finding a long term parking proved more difficult that planned. Eventually we left the Civy at the Newark Airport and headed to the Island just in time for a rainy Friday night rush hour.

Walking out of Penn Station at 5 pm gave us our first stereotypical New York City experience, complete with umbrellas, taxi cabs and lots of jostling for sidewalk space. By the time we stumbled up to our hotel we were completely soaked, pretty embarrassing since the hotel we booked was gorgeous and would have been well above our means without some help from Hotwire. Our room was tiny, but the king-sized bed itself beat sleeping on the ground or our one night stay at a roadside Comfort Inn.

Our time in New York was limited (two and a half days) and with so many friendly suggestions it was pretty overwhelming trying to decide what to do and where to eat. So much so that we ended up winging it or using Yelp most of the time. Our first night out it was still raining so we went to a bar down the street called the Beer Authority, pretty tasty cocktails and the pasta dish I ordered blew me away. Our Saturday consisted of concert food and nine dollar beers, but more on that later. Sunday on the other hand became our totally touristy day.

We woke up bright and early (eleven am) and decided the best thing to cure our post concert headaches was brunch at the HK Cafe, where my eggs benedict craving was thoroughly satisfied. Unluckily for Neal, I noticed a flea market a block wide as we where leaving the cafe and obviously had to investigate. After dragging him around to a close to a dozen vendors his logic prevailed and I agreed that we should probably go see the Empire State Building since we only had 24 hours left in New York City.

On our way we passed by a huge street party celebrating Peurto Rican independence, which was apparently distracting enough for us to j-walk right in front of a few police officers. We made it to the Empire State un-arrested and headed up to the 85th floor observation deck. The view was as breathtaking as you could imagine, but the thing that surprised me was how quiet it was looking over the hustle and bustle of such a massive city.

Our next must-do was a visit to Central Park, and I have to say getting there was an adventure of its own since the New York subway system is a hot confusing mess. Every time we tried to take a train during our visit we ended up getting on the wrong line or going in the wrong direction. But then maybe it was just our inexperience with a real city’s transportation system (nope it was you New York, it really was). Anyways, the park was beautiful and enjoyably busy, not to mention massive as we walked the length of it later on looking for a restaurant. We passed by lakes, birthday parties, and hundreds of people exercising before plopping down on a rock next to some tennis courts. Some of us napped and others just people watched, either way we both enjoyed resting our feet for a while.

We ended off the evening meeting up with some Winnipeg friends and eating fantastic Thai food at a little place called Ember. I left New York the next morning knowing I would have to come back to see everything that we didn’t have time for this time around.

Thrifty Adventures

thrifting thrifting3 thrifting2 thrifting4Over the past month I’ve spent most of my days off in various secondhand stores around the city, and thanks to some amazing partners in thrifting I’ve had abnormally good luck. My initial goal was to find artwork and other things to furnish my place, but of course I came across lots of funky clothes and jewellery that had to come home with me as well. One of my new favourites is an old leather camera case that fits my little Lumix perfectly.

The spots I would recommend checking out are The Old House Revival Company on Young Street, the MCC on Sargent Avenuve and Founder on Portage Avenue. I’m planning on turning some of my finds into craft projects so stay posted!

Finally

Boxes Unpacking Sunroom TulipsSo, here’s the scoop on all the dead air lately: I’ve moved! It was a long process and a slow process but I’m finally settling into my new (old) apartment. It’s a giant two bedroom in a character building just a block away from where I used to live. I’m currently roommate-less, and loving the alone time a bit too much, and while I can afford living by myself for the moment come August I’ll need a flatmate.

I inherited the suite through a friend when I fell in love with it way back in February, since then I had been driving myself crazy waiting for April 1st to arrive. Move in day was hectic but I was so thankful for the help I had because I have way too much stuff than is reasonable for one person (I admit it and I’ve made downsizing a part of my to do list). After two truck loads were hauled into the apartment, my mother and I decided it would be a great idea to go buy me more stuff from Ikea and Canadian Tire, hence the giant fern inhabiting my dining room!

I keep discovering things I love about my new place, like the creaky wood floors and hissing rads, and the never ending storage places, but it very much is a work in progress. Be prepared for a few infrequent home improvement posts over the next little while. I say infrequent because I don’t have internet at the moment, and don’t plan on getting it anytime soon, leaving more room for creative thoughts but less room for actual blog posts. Thank god for coffee shops!

Until next time.

xoxo

 

Today

window Tea breaky sunsnow beer Bike walk fort fort2 arlington leavesToday I slept in, had a relaxing breakfast, and got to take some pictures of our recent snowfall. Basically I was in heaven.

March in Winnipeg is so damn unpredictable. I can remember years when Spring has been ushered in by sweaters and plus 10 temperatures, and many other years that have been underlined by frostbite and crazy late snowstorms. This year has been more like the latter. The week before my birthday I had my heart set on going for a skate on the river trail, days before I got the devastating news that the trail was closed and the river was melting because it was too warm. This past weekend we got 20 cm of snow during a blizzard!

While I hate that I’m still wearing a parka outside, the fresh snow made for some pretty shots.

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Roomies bday wormsinmud potatoes steak asparagus mashed fpan boyfdinner cardsThis post is definitely late, my birthday was almost 3 weeks ago on the fifth of March. For the last few weeks I’ve been working so much that I haven’t found much time for myself, let alone sit down and write a blog post. But here we are and I’m glad I found the time to put in some updates!

In 9 days time I’ll be moving into a new apartment and away from the two girls I’ve lived with for nearly a year. It’s bittersweet. I’m excited to decorate a new place and get out of a house that has leaks, drafts, mice and paper thin walls. But I’m sad to leave these two wonderful women and the birthday dinner they made me really made me realize this. There was balloons, wine, spaghetti with vodka sauce, garlic toast and the piece de resistance, Worms in Dirt! I loved it.

But this was actually one of three special dinners I had over my week long b-day celebration. On the evening of my actual birthday my Aunt and Uncle made me an array of delicious pizzas, followed by my Moms wonderful carrot cake and a showering of beautiful gifts from my family. Then, on the Saturday following, Neal and I got together and cooked up a steak to celebrate our combined birthdays (they’re 5 days apart). It was fantastic to have a low key b-day this year, I felt so much love and had so much stress free fun!

Bussing = Happy

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It might sound strange, but lately I’ve really started appreciating taking the bus. This wasn’t always the case, I used to detest it. Waiting forever in the cold, having to transfer ten times to make it to your destination and the lack of adequate bus shelters made taking the bus a huge headache. While these issues are still mainstays of Winnipeg transit, I’ve become lucky enough to bypass them.

Last year I moved into a house 1 block from portage avenue, and as it turns out this is the only place to live where it makes sense to own a bus pass. I’m sure some people can disagree and say they get excellent bus service in their neighbourhood, but I challenge you to walk to your bus stop night or day and wait less than 5 minutes on average for a bus to show up. I’m so spoiled that I don’t bother to check when the next bus is coming before I leave the house, not a bad perk.

Now that I can rely on public transit again, I can easily dismiss all the cranky bus driver and rude riders and I don’t complain nearly as much about the outrageous fares! Too bad I’m apartment hunting now and will likely lose my prime bus privileges, but for the time being I’ll just keep my rose coloured glasses.

… = Happy

DuckiesI think this idea has the potential to be a regular post on this blog! Hear me out: I was having a bath today (in the dark, with candles lit and The Rural Alberta Advantage playing) and started thinking to myself how much I love taking baths. Really long baths that result in pruney hands and not really feeling that clean, but leaving the bathroom as relaxed and clear headed as a person can be. I remember loving baths when I was a kid. I would spend hours in the tub playing with Little Mermaid toys and wishing I could live under the sea with Ariel and Flounder, and today I realized that I’ve been slowly falling back into love with being in water.

I’ll make a bit of an aside here and explain that I started hating being in the water as soon as I started working as a swimming instructor, a mini-career that lasted from 2007 until last year. Standing in the water for 3 and 1/2 hours trying to pull children away from the wall of a pool while their parents scowl at you from the lobby is no longer my idea of a good time. I must admit that getting toddlers to put their faces in the water, and perfecting a teenagers breaststroke, are extremely satisfying moments, but they are too few and far between to make everything else worth it. But back to the love.

Over the summer I started swimming laps with a friend of mine who has goals of competing in several triathlons next year. While I struggled to get back into shape and keep up with her work load, I managed to look forward to hopping into the pool with her several times a week. I’ve had conversations with people who think swimming laps is the most boring and uncomfortable form of exercise out there, and I understand their frustration but that’s exactly the reason I love it. There are no distractions. No music pumping you along, no tv screens obstructing your view, and no giant muscle heads staring through your sports bra. This little revelation came to me today while I was in the bath. I realized I was enjoying myself so much because I was forced to be alone with my thoughts, I couldn’t play with my phone or google cat photos, I could only hang out with myself.

All in all the water makes me happy. And that my friends is what I would like to share more regularly: the things that make me happy. I’m imagining a sort of laundry list of things that make me smile on the regular. The only premise being that these things are free or low cost as opposed to a list of things I want to but to make me happy (these posts are weird and I’ve seen them posted on a bunch of other blogs). Also I promise these “… = Happy” posts won’t all be as long as this, I feel like I’ve been…rambling.

xoxo